China Daily—a state-run newspaper—reports today that a piece of Siddhartha’s skull will be enshrined in Qixia Temple in Jiangsu province’s capital Nanjing tomorrow morning. The sarira (relic) is reported to have been stored in an Asokan pagoda for the past 1,000 years. Qi Haining, part of the archaeological team that discovered the relic, says that it’s the only known piece of the Buddha’s skull. The event is going to be documented with photographs and videos, and the entire ceremony will be broadcast live on TV. Lin Shujuan of China Daily reports on Buddhist relics in China:
According to Buddhist records, Asoka, an Indian emperor who converted after a bloody war, collected all of Sakyamuni’s sarira. He stored them in pagoda-shaped shrines before sending them to different parts of the world. China is believed to have received 19 of them.
© Nick Dawson, courtesy of Maitreya Project International
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.