India Enshrines Buddha's Remains After 2000 Years

October 29, 2006

Source: swissinfo

Wire Service: Reuters

http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/international/ticker/detail/India_enshrines_Buddha_s_remains_after_2000_years.html?siteSect=143&sid=7205309&cKey=1162127322000

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Thousands of Buddhists gathered in India's western city of Mumbai on Sunday to lay to rest part of the ashes and bones of Lord Buddha in a ceremony resurrected after almost 2000 years.

Monks in flowing orange robes chanted hymns from scriptures as the remains were lowered into a shallow pit on top of a 90-ft (27 metres) high stone dome, as part of celebrations to mark the 2,550th anniversary of the spiritual leader's enlightenment.

Organisers of the ceremony said this was the first time in around 2,000 years that Buddha's mortal remains were being enshrined.

"The relics now kept in this magnificent pagoda came from an ancient dome discovered during an archaeological expedition in south India in early-1900s," Acharya S.N. Goenka told reporters.

After Buddha's death, his remains were divided and kept in eight separate domes built by his disciples across Asia.

They were later taken by Buddhist convert Indian emperor Asoka, who placed them in many smaller domes about 2000 years ago.

The remains being enshrined on Sunday were found in an ancient pagoda in southern India in 1920 and have been kept in a Buddhist monastery for over 85 years, before being handed over for enshrining.