Sunday, August 25, 2013

Enlightenment Mystery: Relics (video)

Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly with Dr. Rei Rei, Ven. Chandananda (, Roshi Albrizze (;
These exquisite crystalline formations are relics of various body parts (
Ancient stupa (reliquary), Thailand (Andyzart)
We filed in early in the afternoon, returning from a Dharma meeting at the doctor's house where we were looking at the Dalai Lama's book Beyond Religion. Whoever is ghostwriting is doing a great job, or Tibet's spiritual leader is making great progress in his English. Who needs religious labels? All we need are... ethics? We're still on the part where India is being exalted for its religious diversity and tolerance.

Relics (shariras) resemble pearls and glass beads with new growths (
Multiplying cluster of relics (photo gallery)
Last Sunday was the August full-moon observance day (uposatha). All of the white-clad Sinhalese devotees observing the Eight Precepts at the Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara filed in behind us. The Sri Lankan Theravada abbot, Ven. Dhammarama Mahathera, was at their head. And the abbot of Lu Mountain Monastery, author and sacred relic custodian Ven. Master YongHua (author of The Chan Handbook: The Learner's Guide to Meditation), was overjoyed to explain the evidence.

Joyful child plays with monk in Ladakhi temple, Buddhist India (Vincenzo Rossi/flickr)
Fragrant tooth relic (BLI)
When the fragrant (and still growing) sacred tooth relic was placed under the nose of American Zen teacher Jeff Albrizze, he fell into a reverie re-experiencing past lives, seeing himself back as a monk stirring a great pot. It seemed to be the heat, but he later explained he was powerfully shaken. Dr. Rei, with psychic abilities, felt a purifying presence and joyful light beings. The rest of us were convinced by the Abbot Master YongHua's impromptu presentation. Wrongly harboring doubt and vening pessimistic views that lead others to wrongly doubt is serious demerit (unwholesome karma) with the potential of leading one to worlds of misery.
Crystal tray of colorful shariras
A healthy skepticism leads one to investigate rather than doubt. The abbot went on to say how fortunate we all were: With the relics at hand, they will be videotaped multiplying to help us overcome our skeptical doubt, one of the most serious and harmful hindrances on the path to enlightenment.
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