Chinese archaeologists have found a stone chest and a skull fragment that they believe belonged to Buddha, aka Siddhartha Gautama, founder of Buddhism. The bone fragment was found beneath the Temple Great Bao’en, within a model of a Stupa made of sandalwood, silver and gold, which was stored in a box which in turn was inside a stone chest.
A fascinating discovery has been made in China. Archaeologists believe they have found the fragments of Buddha’s skull under a Buddhist temple in Nanjing, China.
Chinese scientists believe the parietal bone fragment of the skull found in a stone chest under a Buddhist temple in Nanking, could belong to Buddha, reports Chinese Cultural Relics magazine.
The bone fragment was found beneath the Temple Great Bao’en, within a model of a Stupa made of sandalwood, silver and gold, which was stored in a box which in turn was inside a stone chest. The stupa was decorated with lotus patterns, pictures of phoenixes and gods with mighty swords. According to Live Science, the shrine is a box 117 cm tall and 45 cm wide (4 feet by 1.5 feet) made from sandalwood, gold and silver with jewels embedded and contained the bone inside.
Researchers say the inscriptions engraved on the stone chest indicate that the bone belonged to Siddhartha Gautama, founder of Buddhism. They were written about 1,000 years ago by someone by the name of Deming.
The writing indicates that Demin, who was “Master of Perfect Enlightenment, abbot of the monastery Chengtian and head of the purple robe” retained the bone fragment time after Buddha ‘entered Paranirvana’ when the cycle of death and rebirth breaks.
Inscriptions found on the stone chest suggest the model was created during the reign of Emperor Zhenzong (A.D. 997-1022) during the Song Dynasty. Researchers say that also inscribed on the chest are the names of people who donated money and material to build the model, as well as the names of the builders of it.
According to Deming, a ruler of India at that time, King Ashoka, ” chose to preserve the remains of Buddha, and divided them into 84,000 parts.” China writes the inscription, received 19 of those parts, including the parietal bone that had remained in a temple that was destroyed some 1,400 years ago during turbulent times when wars were waging in the region.
“The foundation ruins … were scattered in the weeds,” Deming wrote. “In this time of turbulence, did no one care for Buddhist affairs?”
According to inscriptions by Deming, Emperor Zhenzong decided that it was best to rebuild the temple and Buddha’s parietal bone, and the remains of other Buddhist saints buried underground in a crypt at the temple.
Deming wrote they were interred on July 21, 1011, A.D., in “a most solemn and elaborate burial ceremony.”
In the inscriptions, Deming also praised the emperor for rebuilding the temple and burying the remains of Buddha. Daming wished the emperor a long life, loyal subjects and many grandchildren: “May the Heir Apparent and the imperial princes be blessed and prosperous with 10,000 offspring; may Civil and Military Ministers of the Court be loyal and patriotic; may the three armed forces and citizens enjoy a happy and peaceful time …”
While the inscriptions say that the skull fragment belongs to the Buddha, it still remains a mystery whether or not it really does come from him. So far, according to archaeologists, there shouldn’t be any doubts about it researchers beleive the skull fragment did belong to Buddha. Researchers have found that engraved on the outside of the model are numerous images depicting Buddha, in addition to a number of scenes that illustrate stories from the life of Buddha, ranging from his birth to the point when he reached the so-called “parinirvana.”
The bone fragment is being treated with great respect and has been interred in the modern-day Qixia Temple by Buddhist monks.
Researchers from the Municipal Institute of Archaeology of Nanking excavated the crypt between 2007 and 2010. They were supported by a large number of experts from all China who helped in the recovery process.
The news of the discovery was not covered extensively by Western media but received great interest in China.