Friday, 13 July 2007

Re: Buddhist Relics coming to the UK

This explains the actual nature of the "Relics" - let me know what you think in the "Comments" at the bottom of this post.

Buddhist Relics Tour Passes through Fremont, California
By Roy McDowell, Epoch Times, Jul 11, 2007

San Francisco, CA (USA) -- Sacred relics of Buddhist masters and saints, or Sariras, were on display at Fremont's Willits Center this past weekend. Local residents had a rare opportunity to view the precious collections for free.

<< A golden Maitreya Buddha statue is surrounded by relics of ancient Buddhist masters and saints at Fremont's Willits Center last weekend. (Roy McDowell/The Epoch Times)

The Sariras are kept in golden lotus flower shaped containers surrounding a golden Maitreya Buddha statue. Throughout the day, a steady flow of visitors came to pay respect to the enlightened, to feel the curing energy, or to enjoy the loving energy.

"It's peaceful," said Sandra Cabrera, a Fremont resident and an immigrant from Mexico. "It's relaxing and I can feel the positive energy." She came with her parents and brother.

According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha and Buddhist saints were able to focus their energy to create Sariras of various colors in their bodies prior to giving up their bodies. These pearl- or crystal-like beads contain the essence of a cultivator's purity and allow people to receive blessings.

The rare collection of Sariras came from 16 Buddhist masters and saints, including Buddha Shakyamuni, who enlightened under a Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, and Kasyapa Buddha, who preceded Shakyamuni and is better known as the "historical Buddha." Others included the Venerable Maudgalyayana, Nagarjuna, and Milarepa, etc.

Some of the Sariras were salvaged from statues in Tibet where they had been enshrined for thousands of years before the Communist occupation in 1959. Other relics were donated by museums and monasteries. They will travel the world until they are placed in the 500-foot Maitreya Buddha statue that's being built in Kushinagar in northern India.

Maitreya comes from the Sanskrit word "maitri" meaning "love." Maitreya Buddha is sometimes called the Laughing Buddha and is usually portrayed as having a large belly. According to the Buddhist scriptures, Maitreya Buddha will be the next Buddha to descend to the world to spread his teachings.

"The reason we display them is because we want people to receive blessings from the holy objects," said Victoria Ewart, the relic tour director. "We all want to be happy. One way to generate happiness is to get into contact with holy objects."

The relics display will tour several cities in California and Nevada until mid-August. The next stop will be Irvine, California from July 13-15. After that, the tour will visit Canada, the Midwest, and then the East Coast.


  1. Personally, I have a problem with relics qua relics. As works of art, they may be inspiring,as historical items they may be interesting, but the clinging to personalities and that which they leave behind is, for me, not what it's about.

  2. I agree, especially when the "relics" are some mystical pearl like beads that only Buddhas & saints can produce. I must admit though, until I read that bit, I was intrigued at the thought of seeing a part of the actual Buddha's body (assumed it would be a tooth or bit of bone). Morbid, medieval, hey it's just a bone, delusional or reverential........ a confusing and slightly embarrassing mix of initial reactions. But having seen the more detailed report I'm with you.

  3. Chaucer's "pigges bones" come to mind. It's the same old superstition. It is understandable that people in all cultures go for it as a cry against helplessness and hopelessness.Perhaps revering these things can spark a positive reaction in the human psyche in the same way any thing can, but really a reality check is a healthier option?