Author: Tham Weng Yew
Buddhists have always had a high regard for relics associated with enlightened persons. These relics are powerful symbols for representing and remembering the wondrous attributes of an enlightened being. They inspire great faith and devotion. This is particularly true with regard to the relics of the historical Buddha, Sakyamuni. Corporeal relics of Sakyamuni Buddha which have been reasonably authenticated by archaeological and historical data are, understandably, rare indeed. When available, authentic relics of the Buddha are greatly treasured by Buddhists. Two such relics are presently enshrined in the Mulagandhakuti Vihara at Sarnath. There relics were discovered in Taxila and Nagarjunakonda by archaeologists early this century. With the kind permission of the Government of India and the Maha Bodhi Society of India, the Buddhist Library has been able to bring these relics out of India for the first time, for a one-week exhibition in Singapore. The exhibition will give Buddhists in Singapore and the region an opportunity to view and venerate these precious relics of the Buddha. This booklet, published in conjuction with the above exhibition, explores the significance of veneration of the Buddha’s corporeal relics, particularly in the context of south and south-east Asian Buddhism. It also traces the history of the two sets of relics that have been brought for the exhibition. It is hoped that this background information will further enrich your experience when you come to view these relics.