Relics of the Buddha


    BUDDHISM of another order, but nevertheless of a closely related world of thought, appears in the announcement that Buddha relics of exceptional sanctity, discovered in Central India nearly ninety years ago and since in private possession in England, will now return to the East. They have been given to a Buddhist Temple in Ceylon by Mrs. Leslie Smith and Mrs. Winifred Burrows, granddaughters of General F. C. Maisey, by whom they were discovered when with Sir Alexander Cunningham he was investigating the numerous Buddhist monuments around Bhilsa in 1851. The discovery, as described in The Times of February 27, consisted of a relic casket—a small crystal tope, with terrace, plinth, hemispherical dome, square pedestal and a double pinnacle, this last forming the stopper of a small perpendicular shaft. This casket has been dated at about 350 B.C. The relic chamber at the bottom of the shaft contained minute pieces of bone, the whole being enclosed in a red earthenware box, which also contained other pieces of bone, and a series of the seven precious things usually accompanying the relics of an eminent person, namely, thin round pieces of gold, a bead of garnet, a crystal bead, two beads of pale greenish crystal, and some minute fragments of pearl.

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    Relics of the Buddha. Nature 145, 343 (1940).

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