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First stop for bone from Buddha skull: Hong Kong
The parietal bone believed to be from the Buddha is shown at the Qixia Temple in Nanjing, China.
April 23rd, 2012
08:34 AM ET

First stop for bone from Buddha skull: Hong Kong

By Vicky Kung, for CNN

Hong Kong (CNN) – A skull bone believed to be from the original remains of the Buddha will be on display in Hong Kong for six days, the first time the relic will be displayed outside mainland China.

The parietal bone will be enshrined for worship at the Hong Kong Coliseum from April 25 to April 30. China is sending the relic to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, said Venerable Yin-chi, the secretary general of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association. The display also coincides with the World Buddhist Forum in the city and Buddha’s birthday, celebrated in Hong Kong on April 26.

“The Chinese government had sent us the Buddha’s tooth once in 1999 and the finger bone once in 2004,” Yin-chi said. “But this is the first time that the parietal bone is being moved away from the mainland for a public worship.”

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Like the great panda, Buddha’s bones are often sent as a gesture of diplomatic friendliness to countries where Buddhism thrives.

China, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Singapore and Taiwan possess bones or teeth purported to be relics of Sakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. In 2011, India lent relics to Indonesia for the 2,600th anniversary of Buddha’s enlightenment. China, which has most of the relics, has lent bones to South Korea, Thailand, Myanmar, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The skull fragment, unearthed in 2008 at the Grand Da Bao’en Temple in Nanjing, China, is described as the “highest spiritual object in Buddhism” by Venerable Hong-ming, the executive vice president of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association.

“ 'Buddha' literally means 'the awakened one,' ” Yin-chi said. “In Buddhism, we do not believe in a god who is the creator, but we strive to be spiritually awakened, like Sakyamuni did with his supernatural wisdom. The cremated remains of the Buddha are encouragement to all Buddhist followers who want to be awakened, so the bones are highly venerated.”

Together with the Buddhist Association of China and the China Religious Culture Communication Association, The Hong Kong Buddhist Association will organize a “Grand Blessing Ceremony” to welcome the relic to the city.

“We sometimes call the Buddha’s birthday the Bathing-Buddha Festival,” Yin-chi said. “Believers sprinkle water on the infant statue of Sakyamuni to commemorate his birth. This is because according to the legends, nine dragons sprayed water when Sakyamuni was born. The rain symbolizes the cleansing of one’s soul and purity.”

Hong Kong first included the Buddha’s birthday on its list of public holidays in 1999, two years after its reunification with China.

“The official acknowledgement might be one reason why Buddhism blossomed in Hong Kong,” Yin-chi said. “Such publicity helps, but Buddhism was pervasive here long before 1999. More and more people believe because Buddhism inspires people who are looking for the meaning in life.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Buddhism • China • Foreign policy

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    April 25, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  5. momoya

    I'm sorry that I clicked the link for this story.

    April 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  6. Jorge

    The Buddha would have probably laughed and shaken his head at the misguided banality of this thing, had he known it would happen, "How very temporal, materialistic and obsessive,"-he would probably say-"to pay homage to a fragment of human remains."

    April 24, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  7. Justin Halifax

    Why is Pepsi so delicious, when Coke tastes so foul?

    April 24, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  8. Kebos

    Wow, a bone from a human being. I must get in line to see that, NOT!

    April 24, 2012 at 6:12 am |
    • George Carlin

      Sounds like something I would say.

      April 24, 2012 at 6:55 am |
    • Phan

      He didn't do the "NOT" thing that I can recall.

      April 24, 2012 at 7:04 am |
  9. doctore0

    Crazy people

    April 24, 2012 at 5:55 am |
  10. Kazi M Huque

    In "The Great Transformation" , Karen Armstrong writes "In the process, they often produce the kind of religiosity that the Axial reformers wanted to get rid of". I think this is exactly the kind of thing that Buddha, one of the great Axial reformers, would have disapproved of.

    April 24, 2012 at 5:05 am |
  11. Reality

    Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

    The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

    Current problems:

    The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

    Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

    "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

    Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

    Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

    Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

    Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

    "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

    Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

    Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

    Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

    April 23, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  12. Joe

    Hindus worship Buddha

    April 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Observer

      Hindus and Buddhists are different. Buddha follows the path of enlightenment and believes that heaven is inside a man. Buddha did not claim to be god.
      Hindus worship idols like monkey god, cow god so on... they both believe in reincarnation and hindus believe you can reincarnate as a dog or a cat or a mouse.

      April 23, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Leo

      I'm 99% sure this is a hoax. I've read about 20-30 books on Buddhism, and none of them ever mention anything about Buddha going to China, let alone being buried there. You guys (both CNN and readers) should have been clued off that this was a hoax immediately when they claimed: "The skull fragment, unearthed in 2008 at the Grand Da Bao’en Temple in Nanjing, China" Buddha never lived in China, he never traveled to China, and he didn't die in China, according to all the historical accounts that we have. If the Chinese government went around the world displaying Jesus' bones, you guys would laugh. The idea that the Chinese government owns Buddha's bones and gives them out to people to display is just as ludicrous. Please CNN reporters and editors, do just a tiny bit of research before posting nonsense like this, please.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Hindus worship pretty much everything.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Ting

      That way they're covered. Makes sense to me.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  13. Kyle H. Davis

    Seems to me that China should return this cultural relic back to its owner... India.

    April 23, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      You raise a good point Kyle. I wonder what if there're any Indian Buddhist groups thinking the same thing. Or maybe even the Indian govt.

      April 23, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  14. b4bigbang

    EuphoriCrest: "Profart: You are confusing veneration and worship; different meanings. Recall the ancient Koan: "If you see the Buddha, kill the Buddha.""

    Interesting that you bring this up. The Catholics also claim they're not worshiping dead saints – rather venerating them. I think it's a vain and callous disregard for God's feelings on the matter. Regarding applying the word 'veneration' to this Buddha shrine, you should re-read the article where the head of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association says "... the parietal bone is being moved away from the mainland for a public worship.”

    If it's a matter of him having English difficulities [and he meant to say veneration], then maybe they should check the grammar more closely before the press release.

    April 23, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sez the retarded gnome.

      April 23, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  15. Geo..

    your god did not die! only if you want it to. why would you want that?

    April 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  16. Geo..

    we label land people releigion. so we can understand each other. land so we can be taxed. people so we do not breed with our relatives. releigion so we work together with like people to help each other thats all!! sorry that a human thing

    April 23, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Interesting

      You never see the atheists here write like that . . .

      April 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope, you don't.

      April 23, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      an atheist is like an ant walking thru an empty city swearing there is no such thing as a human.

      April 23, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • ha ha ha

      There is no city. No ant. Your analogy sucks in the extreme.

      April 24, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • fred

      @BHO
      A theologian is like a child trying hard to stay awake on Christmas Eve in order to get a glimpse of good ole Saint Nick. They believe with all their heart that he’ll be there any minute, but we all know he isn’t coming because he isn’t real.

      PS
      You’re screen name shows the world that you are indeed one of those children.

      April 24, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  17. B(iraq) Hussein Osama

    GOD DIED FOR MY SINS.

    April 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Jesus

      Okay, so I knew I wasn't going to die and that it was like a nice long sleep-in, and yeah, God could have freed you all of sin without the whole "son gets executed" theater melodrama, and yeah, we did have all four Gospels say four totally different things happened in front or four different numbers of people at my resurrection, but just because the whole thing makes absolutely no sense at all, that does not mean it isn't real.

      Every tongue shall bow, every knee will confess that I am Burger King!

      April 23, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Ting

      My trout died for my dinner.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • ha ha ha

      I killed a bunch of hornets today. They hadn't done a thing to me or for me besides bug me.

      There is no such thing as sin. No god. Nothing but your own filthy imagination.

      April 24, 2012 at 12:25 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.