Relics of the Buddha

The book is structured around the life story of the Buddha, starting with traditions about relics of previous buddhas and relics from the past lives of the Buddha Sakyamuni.

Relics of the Buddha

Buddhism is popularly seen as a religion stressing the truth of impermanence. How, then, to account for the long-standing veneration, in Asian Buddhist communities, of bone fragments, hair, teeth, and other bodily bits said to come from the historic Buddha? Early European and American scholars of religion, influenced by a characteristic Protestant bias against relic worship, declared such practices to be superstitious and fraudulent, and far from the true essence of Buddhism. John Strong's book, by contrast, argues that relic veneration has played a serious and integral role in Buddhist traditions in South and Southeast Asia-and that it is in no way foreign to Buddhism. The book is structured around the life story of the Buddha, starting with traditions about relics of previous buddhas and relics from the past lives of the Buddha Sakyamuni. It then considers the death of the Buddha, the collection of his bodily relics after his cremation, and stories of their spread to different parts of Asia. The book ends with a consideration of the legend of the future parinirvana (extinction) of the relics prior to the advent of the next Buddha, Maitreya. Throughout, the author does not hesitate to explore the many versions of these legends and to relate them to their ritual, doctrinal, artistic, and social contexts.

Relics Ritual and Representation in Buddhism

This study examines the place of relic veneration in the history of South Asian Buddhism.

Relics  Ritual  and Representation in Buddhism

This study examines the place of relic veneration in the history of South Asian Buddhism.

The Relics of the Buddha

The Relics of the Buddha


Embodying the Dharma

This volume includes studies of relic traditions in India, Japan, Tibet, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, as well as broader comparative analyses, including comparisons of Buddhist and Christian relic veneration.

Embodying the Dharma

Examines the practice of relic veneration in a variety of forms of Buddhism.

The History of the Buddha s Relic Shrine

the corporeal remains of the Buddha (and sometimes of enlightened monks called arahants), relics of use or objects believed to have been used by the Buddha when he was alive, and commemorative relics or images made of the Buddha after ...

The History of the Buddha s Relic Shrine

Offering the complete English translation of the Buddhist chronicle called the 'Sinhala Thupavamsa', composed by Parākrama Paṇḍita in 13th century Sri Lanka, this work also relates the mythological history of the Buddhas previous lives as a bodhisattva and concludes with a prediction about the future Buddha Maitreya.

Jewel in the Ashes

Brian Ruppert argues that relics offered means for reinforcing or subverting hierarchical relations.

Jewel in the Ashes

Focusing on the ninth to the fourteenth centuries, this study analyzes the ways in which relics functioned as material media for the interactions of Buddhist clerics, the imperial family, lay aristocrats, and warrior society and explores the multivocality of relics by dealing with specific historical examples. Brian Ruppert argues that relics offered means for reinforcing or subverting hierarchical relations. The author's critical literary and anthropological analyses attest to the prominence of relic veneration in government, in lay practice associated with the maintenance of the imperial line and warrior houses, and in the promotion of specific Buddhist sects in Japan.

The Buddha s Tooth

Second, he switches gears to look at the nineteenth-century saga of British dealings with another tooth relic of the Buddha—the famous Daḷadā enshrined in a temple in Kandy—from 1815, when it was taken over by English forces, to 1954 ...

The Buddha s Tooth

John S. Strong unravels the storm of influences shaping the received narratives of two iconic sacred objects. Bodily relics such as hairs, teeth, fingernails, pieces of bone—supposedly from the Buddha himself—have long served as objects of veneration for many Buddhists. Unsurprisingly, when Western colonial powers subjugated populations in South Asia, they used, manipulated, redefined, and even destroyed these objects to exert control. In The Buddha’s Tooth, John S. Strong examines Western stories, from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, surrounding two significant Sri Lankan sacred objects to illuminate and concretize colonial attitudes toward Asian religions. First, he analyzes a tale about the Portuguese capture and public destruction, in the mid-sixteenth century, of a tooth later identified as a relic of the Buddha. Second, he switches gears to look at the nineteenth-century saga of British dealings with another tooth relic of the Buddha—the famous Daḷadā enshrined in a temple in Kandy—from 1815, when it was taken over by English forces, to 1954, when it was visited by Queen Elizabeth II. As Strong reveals, the stories of both the Portuguese tooth and the Kandyan tooth reflect nascent and developing Western understandings of Buddhism, realizations of the cosmopolitan nature of the tooth, and tensions between secular and religious interests.

Relics of Buddha

Relics of Buddha


Buddhism Diplomacy and Trade

When challenged by the Chinese ruler to demonstrate the power of the Buddha's remains , the Sogdian monk , after three weeks of fasting , produced a miraculous , five - color - emitting relic . Sun Quan then employed various means ...

Buddhism  Diplomacy  and Trade

Relations between China and India underwent a dramatic transformation from Buddhist-dominated to commerce-centered exchanges in the seventh to fifteenth centuries. The unfolding of this transformation, its causes, and wider ramifications are examined in this masterful analysis of the changing patterns of interaction between the two most important cultural spheres in Asia. Tansen Sen offers a new perspective on Sino-Indian relations during the Tang dynasty (618-907), arguing that the period is notable not only for religious and diplomatic exchanges but also for the process through which China emerged as a center of Buddhist learning, practice, and pilgrimage. He proposes that changes in religious interactions were paralleled by changes in commercial exchanges. For most of the first millennium, trading activities between India and China were closely connected with and sustained through the transmission of Buddhist doctrines. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, however, secular bulk and luxury goods replaced Buddhist ritual items. Moreover, policies to encourage foreign trade instituted by the Chinese government and the Indian kingdoms transformed the China-India trading circuit in

Buddhism and Vaisali

Vaisali's Share of the Relics of the Buddha For six days the Mallas of Kusinara paid their homage to the departed one by singing, dancing and keeping the incense burning day and night1. On the seventh day they carried the body to ...

Buddhism and Vaisali


If You Meet the Buddha on the Road

While this theme prevails, it has not deterred some Buddhists from responding in other ways. BLASPHEMY AND THE LIFE OF RELICS Too often, Westerners undervalue the importance of Buddha relics or see them as subordinate to doctrine.

If You Meet the Buddha on the Road

It is said that the famous ninth century Chinese Buddhist monk Linji Yixuan told his disciples, "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him." The deliberately confounding statement is meant to shock people out of complacent ways of thinking. But beyond the purposeful jolt from complacency there is another intention. For liberation, this axiom suggests that one should seek the Buddha nature that resides within, rather than a mere Buddha exterior. In this way, the metaphor of killing the Buddha dislodges a person from the illusionary perspective that enlightenment lies outside the body. The proclamation also highlights the power of violence, even on a symbolic level. Violence abounds in Buddhist thoughts, doctrine, and actions, however unacknowledged or misunderstood. If You Meet the Buddha on the Road addresses one important absence in the study of religion and violence: the religious treatment of violence. In order to pursue an understanding of the relationship between Buddhism and violence, it is important to first explore how Buddhist scriptures and followers understand violence. Drawing on Buddhist treatments of violence, Michael Jerryson explores the ways in which Buddhists invoke, support, or justify war, conflict, state violence, and gender discrimination. In addition, the book examines the ways in which Buddhists address violence as military chaplains, cope with violence in a conflict zone, and serve as witnesses of blasphemy to Buddhist doctrine and Buddha images.

The Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture

75 That is, the fascination with relics—whether by medieval Buddhists or modern scholars—stems in part from an uncertainty about the relationship between corporeal embodiment and animating life force. Sharf sees the same dynamic at work ...

The Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture

From the first century, when Buddhism entered China, the foreign religion shaped Chinese philosophy, beliefs, and ritual. At the same time, Buddhism had a profound effect on the material world of the Chinese. This wide-ranging study shows that Buddhism brought with it a vast array of objects big and small--relics treasured as parts of the body of the Buddha, prayer beads, and monastic clothing--as well as new ideas about what objects could do and how they should be treated. Kieschnick argues that even some everyday objects not ordinarily associated with Buddhism--bridges, tea, and the chair--on closer inspection turn out to have been intimately tied to Buddhist ideas and practices. Long after Buddhism ceased to be a major force in India, it continued to influence the development of material culture in China, as it does to the present day. At first glance, this seems surprising. Many Buddhist scriptures and thinkers rejected the material world or even denied its existence with great enthusiasm and sophistication. Others, however, from Buddhist philosophers to ordinary devotees, embraced objects as a means of expressing religious sentiments and doctrines. What was a sad sign of compromise and decline for some was seen as strength and versatility by others. Yielding rich insights through its innovative analysis of particular types of objects, this briskly written book is the first to systematically examine the ambivalent relationship, in the Chinese context, between Buddhism and material culture.

Tooth Relic of the Buddha

Tooth Relic of the Buddha


Jewel in the Ashes

Brian Ruppert argues that relics offered means for reinforcing or subverting hierarchical relations. Throughout Asia, Buddhists have both revered and fought over the remains of the Buddha.

Jewel in the Ashes

Focusing on the ninth to the fourteenth centuries, this study analyzes the ways in which relics functioned as material media for the interactions of Buddhist clerics, the imperial family, lay aristocrats, and warrior society and explores the multivocality of relics by dealing with specific historical examples. Brian Ruppert argues that relics offered means for reinforcing or subverting hierarchical relations.

The Revival of Buddhist Monasticism in Medieval China

David Germano and Kevin Trainor eds . , Embodying the Dharma : Buddhist Relic Veneration in Asia ( Albany : State University of New York Press , 2004 ) ; John Strong , Relics of the Buddha ( Princeton : Princeton University Press ...

The Revival of Buddhist Monasticism in Medieval China

Original Scholarly Monograph

Buddha in Gandh ra Art and Other Buddhist Sites

(Plate-265) (iv) War of Relics When the body of Buddha had been consumed by the fire, the Mallas put out the fire with milk and putting the remains in a golden vase, they placed them in a golden bier and having honoured it with perfumes ...

Buddha in Gandh  ra Art and Other Buddhist Sites