Stumbled across this on PBS. Very interesting!
Stumbled across this on PBS. Very interesting!
The video is not available outside the US, but I have seen it somewhere. As I remember the story, because of the location of that particular Stupa and when it was constructed, those ashes do have some reasonable chance of actually being some ashes of the historical Buddha.
But who cares about some old dead ashes anyway? What matters most is how we bring the Buddha to life today, in this life and our lives! gassho2
Of course, BUDDHA (Big "B" Buddha) is not limited by time or place and fills the 10 Directions ... as much in Indiana as in India, London as Lumbini.
In fact, all through Asia, one finds bits of ash and teeth that are claimed to be the remains of the historical Buddha. Just within a 30 minute drive from Treeleaf Tsukuba, I have located two (one holding ashes, one a Buddha tooth), both gifts from Temples in South Asia now housed at Japanese Buddhist temples around here. (One temple was not sure what to do with it, so it is housed rather off in a corner).
Bone fragments, teeth, various calcified stones remaining after cremation (now thought to be perhaps actually the remains of kidney stones and gallstones!) and other claimed vestiges of the Buddha (called 'Sariras') and other Buddhist Ancestors are found enshrined all over Asia, now other places too. There are so many Buddha teeth around that I have sometimes joked that the man must have had a few thousand teeth like a shark (well, he is the Buddha after all!). It is not different at all from how various body parts of Catholic Saints and pieces of the Cross can be found enshrined around Europe ... a way to make tangible contact, "evidence" of their spiritual power in being beyond decay and such.
Were they actually part of the person? Are they the person? ... Well, they are what they are, and each is "Buddha" in its way.
Jundo I completely agree. To me, to hold these items as somehow sacred is just silly. The wannabe archeologist in me found the show riveting though. They've determined with reasonable certainty that the Pripahwa stupa is the familial burial site of the Sakya clan after digging deeper into it and finding more remains and inscriptions in the 70's. They surmised that after the Buddhas remains were divided into 8 portions and distributed to the various kingdoms in the area, someone came along 100 years or so later and dug the Sakya's portion up and re-intered it in the Pripahwa stupa and burying with it jewels, gold and the urn on which was inscribed "These are the relics of the Lord Buddha" on it. The urn itself has been confirmed to be genuine and dates from about 100 years after Buddhas death. Fascinating stuff.
If you will permit me, there are a couple of nice stories from the Tibetan tradition about the power of relics and mantras, or otherwise.
The first one involves an old Tibetan woman whose son regularly travels to India on business and she always begs him to bring back a relic of the Buddha for her. He, in turn always forgets. After much begging he resolves to do better on one trip but, coming home, he realises he has forgotten again. Just before he gets back to Lhasa, he sees a dead dog and removes a tooth from it, presenting it to his mother as the Buddha's tooth. She is very grateful and puts it on her shrine and he thinks no more about it. One morning he comes downstairs and sees his mother praying. Rays of golden light are pouring forth from the tooth.
In the second story a fisherman comes across a hermit on an island and hears him saying a mantra wrongly so corrects him. The wondering monk bows in thanks and carries on reciting, this time correctly. Just as the fisherman is leaving, he sees the monk walk towards him across the water, asking 'I've forgotten the right words again, please can you remind me?' :-)
The video sounds interesting in any case. Will try and find a UK viewable version. Thank you, Jeffrey.
Very Nice Karasu.
Jundo I very much see your point about relics and such, but I too, just from a historical/ archaeological perspective, find this interesting. I am Facebook friends with the niece of the grandmaster of my Kung Fu style, who lives in Sydney. She posted some picture of some celebration where they were selling Buddha holy water. I asked her about what made the water so holy, and she explained that it had been prayed over. I find this kind of stuff a bit detracting from the real "point". After all, isn't ALL water "holy"?
Thanks for sharing JeffreyB.
A famous Guru I know used to sell his used bath water and urine.
I leave it to your imagination what his followers were to do with that!
There are quite a few Peace Pagodas around the world which apparently contain relics of the Buddha, three of them here in the UK.
You can download it on certain clandestine sites if you catch my drift. You can also cloak your ip to watch it.
LOL Jeffrey, but wouldn't that be breaking a few precepts? :)