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Buddhist relic to be shown in Hong Kong

By Fei Yang (China Daily)

09:18, March 12, 2012

A Buddhist treasure from the mainland will be exhibited in Hong Kong next month, the first time the priceless relic has been shown overseas.

The skull sarira, a relic of Sakyamuni Buddha, will be displayed from April 25 to 30 at the Third World Buddhist Forum in Hong Kong, Master Xue Cheng, vice-president of the Buddhist Association of China and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, told China Daily.

The sarira, which is housed in the Bao'en Temple, or the Temple of Gratitude, in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, is expected to draw millions of viewers, both Buddhists and non-believers, he said.

The relic is believed to be the only skull sarira of Sakyamuni that has been found in China. Worshiping sarira, or relics, is regarded as an important ritual in Buddhism.

The sarira will be carried to Hong Kong by private jet and will be guarded by masters at all times, he said.

Two other relics from the mainland have been exhibited in Hong Kong.

A sarira of Buddha's tooth from Beijing was transported to Hong Kong in 1999. In 2004, a sarira of Buddha's body from Shanxi province was exhibited.

The exhibition of the skull sarira is a "groundbreaking" event, Master Xue Cheng said, and will help facilitate communication between Chinese Buddhists and their overseas counterparts.

"Chinese Buddhists always pray for world peace. The forum has united believers and non-believers to achieve harmony," he said.

The world, especially the West, mainly knows about the economic development of China, but lacks understanding of China's culture, he said.

"Buddhism, as an important part of Chinese culture, carries a mission to promote Chinese culture in the world," he said.

Hong Kong, with its large number of Buddhists and cultural proximity to the mainland, is a good place to exhibit the sarira, the master said.

There are an estimated 700,000 Buddhists in Hong Kong, or about 10 percent of its population. The city has 600 temples.

Xie Yu contributed to this story.

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