Monday, December 26, 2011

Buddha's tooth relic goes from China to Burma

Wisdom Quarterly; Xinhua;
Assistants dressed as helmeted space visitors (akasha-devas or various nats, nature spirits) carry the tooth relic from a special plane at Burma's newest airport, Nov. 6, 2011. Chinese Mahayana and Burmese Theravada (right) look on. This is the relic's fourth trip to Burma following loans in 1955, 1994, and 1996 (Xinhua/ U Aung).

The most famous relic of the historical Buddha is a tooth kept in Kandy, in Sri Lanka's Temple of the Tooth. However, it was so famous that it was stolen by fanatic invaders in the name of their interpretation of what would please their all-powerful tribal "God." Its veneration continued, so it was replaced by a large elephant tooth. The Buddha had grown in the popular imagination into a giant as is often depicted in art and artifacts such as Adam's peak, where he is said to have alighted on an island mountain and left a large imprint, one far too large to be a man. But there is another tooth, possibly an original residing in China. It recently visited Burma.

Staff carry miniature pagoda containing tooth relic (sarira) off a chartered plane at Beijing Capital Int'l Airport, Dec. 24, 2011. It was returned, after concluding its fourth trip to Burma, to Lingguang Temple, its permanent residence. Over the past 48 days, the relic was venerated by over 4 million people Burmese Buddhists (Xinhua/Li Fangyu).

Chinese Buddha tooth relic in Burma (Dec. 24, 2011)
MANDALAY, Burma (Xinhua) - Chinese's sacred Buddha tooth relic was re-conveyed to China Saturday after concluding 48-day public veneration in Burma's three major cities -- the new capital Nay Pyi Taw and ancient former capitals Rangoon and Mandalay. The tooth relic will be brought back from Mandalay's Maha Atulawaiyan Pagoda to Beijing's Lingguang Temple in China. Burma held a grand ceremony at Mandalay International Airport to send off the relic in accordance with Buddhist practices and national decorum. It was seen off by various officials, Chinese representatives, Buddhist representatives, and devoted followers. Returning in a special aircraft carrying the sacred relic was a Chinese Buddhist delegation led by Jiang Jianyong, Deputy Minister of State Administration for Religious Affairs of China. More

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