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The Buddhist Holy Grail

23 January 2008
 

It is said that after the nirvana of Sakyamuni, his earthly manifestation was cremated. And among the ashes, some strange things occurred: four of his teeth, along with his finger bones, skull and hair apparently possessed the quality of diamond, have survived the fire. These remains are revered as Buddhist relics (舍利), but later most of them somehow vanished from the world one after other.

More than two thousand years passed. Then one day in the 1980s, a shocking news came out from an ancient Chinese Buddhist monastery situated near the heart of the historical China, Xian.

Famen monastery (法门寺), in the Fufeng county (扶风县), Shaanxi Province, was first built during the Tang dynasty, and the current stupa was structured during the Ming period more than four centuries ago. In 1981, when China newly emerged from the ruins of the “Culture Revolution”, the stupa partially collapsed, revealing a well-kept top secret in the Buddhist world. Six years later, when repairing the structure, in the stone storage hidden deep underground, among over 2,000 rare treasures, there is the Buddhist holy grail: the finger bone of the historical Buddha Sakyamuni. The relic had long been rumoured as having disappeared from the human realm while in reality it had survived 400 years of chaos, war and cultural destruction.

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