Buddhists cleanse 'cursed' Rappahannock River in Virginia

Posted: Friday, July 12, 2002

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Local Buddhists held a ceremony to bless the Rappahannock River, where more than 60 people have drowned since 1972.

More than two dozen attendees recited a Great Compassion mantra as part of the ceremony.

''We believe human compassion is the most powerful energy in the universe,'' said Alex Cheng, a Buddhist who traveled from Fairfax to attend the recent event. ''Someone has to take action to reduce these things from happening.''

Brian Robinson of the Fredericksburg/Stafford Park Authority, said the snags and undercurrents in the seemingly placid river are to blame for the drownings. Still, he said, ''we will certainly take all the blessings we can.''

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