The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Relic of the tooth of the Buddha
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According to Sri Lankan legends, when the Lord Buddha died (mahä Parinibbhäna) BC 543, his body was cremated in a sandalwood pyre at Kusinagara in India and his left canine tooth was retrieved from the funeral pyre by Arahat Khema.
Wars were fought to take possession of the relic. 800 years after the Buddha's death, in the 4th century CE, the tooth came into the possession of King Guhaseeva of Kalinga, which roughly corresponds to the present day state of Odisha.
As time went on, the land was threatened with foreign invasions (at one of which the king of Pegu offered the Portuguese £50 000 as a ransom of the tooth) and the seat of the kingdom was moved from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa, then to Dambadeniya and other cities. Upon each change of capital, a new palace was built to enshrine the relic.
Other tooth relics
- Lingguang Temple (灵光寺) of the Badachu Park in Beijing, China.
- Buddha Memorial Center)] (佛陀紀念館) of the Fo Guang Shan Monastery in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
- Shari-den (舎利殿; reliquary hall) of the Engaku-ji in Kamakura, Japan.
- Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum (佛牙寺龙华院) in Chinatown, Singapore.
- Lu Mountain Temple in Rosemead, CA