Archaeologists have reportedly uncovered a 1,000-year-old box that could potentially hold the remains of the Buddha in China.
|Cremated human remains were found inside this ceramic box. An inscription found nearby says that they
were buried Jun. 22, 1013 and belong to the Buddha [Credit: Chinese Cultural Relics]
Remains of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha or the “awakened one”, who founded Buddhism and is believed to have lived around 566-486 BCE, may have been found in a temple in Nanjing.
According to Live Science, a skull bone of the Buddha may have been discovered inside a model of a stupa — a Buddhist shrine containing relics+ used for meditation — hidden in a stone casket in the crypt of a Buddhist temple.
According to inscriptions on the box — which is made of sandalwood, silver and gold — the skull bone found within the remains belonged to the Buddha.
Inscriptions on the ceramic box containing the model claim that two monks named Yunjiang and Zhiming, from the Manjusri Temple in Longxing Monastery, collected over 2,000 pieces of cremated remains over a period of 20 years and buried them in the temple in 1013.
The findings, published in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics, report the stupa model was discovered in the crypt of the Grand Bao’en Temple and measured nearly four feet by 1.5 feet.
Statues over six feet tall were also found during the excavation, though archaeologists are unsure if they were buried at the same time as the remains, it was reported.
Archaeologists, led by Hong Wu, a research fellow at Gansu Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, have not stated if they believe the remains to be of the Buddha, who died 2,500 years ago. The remains were discovered by excavation teams in 2010, but news of the discovery has only been recently reported in English by the Chinese Cultural Relics journal.