Buddha’s Remains Found in Gold Casket in China

Buddha’s skull bone might have been spotted by archaeologists in Nanjing, China! The remains were found in a crypt under the ruins of a Buddhist temple.

The gold casket in which the skull bone was found. Photo credits: Chinese Cultural Relics.
The gold casket in which the skull bone was found. Photo credits: Chinese Cultural Relics.

A team of researchers have uncovered human remains in a Buddhist shrine located in Nanjing, China, that might have once belonged to Buddha.

The shrine has been made of a number of materials, from silver and gold to sandalwood. It was ornately decorated with lapis lazuli beads, glass, and crystal. It was kept away in an iron box that was then put in a big stone casket and placed in the crypt. It was found to enclose a large silver casket which contained a small gold casket inside of which lay the piece of skull bone. The silver casket had intricate images of female cloud and water spirits drawn on it while the golden one had images of lotuses, phoenix birds, and what look like gods. The model shrine is also known as a stupa which is a structure made to hold relics and the corpses of Buddhist monks and nuns.

The silver casket with intricate images. Photo credits: Chinese Cultural Relics.
The silver casket with intricate images. Photo credits: Chinese Cultural Relics.

All of this indicates that the bone was meant to be safely hidden; seemingly, a lot of efforts went into ensuring it was kept away from prying or curious eyes. Does this mean that it was considered to be exceedingly precious? Probably yes. Does this also imply that it might have belonged to Buddha himself? Interestingly, indicative inscriptions were found to be in favour of this hypothesis: these were written by someone named Deming, described as the “Master of Perfect Enlightenment, Abbot of Chengtian Monastery [and] the Holder of the Purple Robe”, and according to them, the bone belonged to Buddha. The writings mention that the chest was made around 997 to 1022 AD during the reign of Emperor Zhenzong. Deming also added that the chest was originally located in the Grand Bao’en Temple, and relocated to the crypt found underground in July 1011 AD.

The inscriptions. Photo credits: Chinese Cultural Relics.
The inscriptions. Photo credits: Chinese Cultural Relics.

While all of this evidence might be compelling as to the theory that the bone belonged to Buddha, experts are yet to confirm this. Regardless of the answer to this question, this finding definitely is an incredible one.

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