Cremated Remains of the Buddha Discovered in Chinese Village
Chinese Cultural Relics
Source: Live Science
The cremated remains of what an inscription says is the Buddha, also called Siddhārtha Gautama, have been discovered in a box in Jingchuan County, China, along with more than 260 Buddhist statues. The translated inscription on the box reads: "The monks Yunjiang and Zhiming of the Lotus School, who belonged to the Mañjuśrī Temple of the Longxing Monastery in Jingzhou Prefecture, gathered more than 2,000 pieces of śarīra (cremated remains of the Buddha), as well as the Buddha's teeth and bones, and buried them in the Mañjuśrī Hall of this temple," on June 22, 1013. At the site where the statues and Buddha remains were buried, archaeologists also found the remains of a structure that could be from the Mañjuśrī Hall. Yunjiang and Zhiming spent more than 20 years gathering the remains of the Buddha, who is also sometimes referred to as Gautama Buddha, the inscription notes. "In order to promote Buddhism, they wanted to collect śarīra. To reach this goal, both of them practiced the instruction of Buddhism during every moment of their lives for more than 20 years," the inscription says. "Sometimes they received the śarīra from others' donations; sometimes they found them by chance; sometimes they bought them from other places; and sometimes others gave them the śarīra to demonstrate their wholeheartedness." The inscription does not mention the 260 Buddhist statues that were found buried near the remains of the Buddha. The archaeologists aren't sure whether or not the statues were buried at the same time as the cremated remains, wrote the team of archaeologists, who were led by Hong Wu, a research fellow at the Gansu Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, in two articles published recently in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics. The archaeologists did not speculate on whether any of the remains are actually from the Buddha who died around 2,500 years ago. Previous archaeological discoveries in China have also revealed human remains with inscriptions that claim that they belong to the Buddha the archaeologists noted. These include a skull bone, supposedly from the Buddha, found inside a gold chest in Nanjing.