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HK to view Buddhist finger bone treasure
By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-20 22:36

A high-profile display of the finger bone relic of the Sakyamuni Buddha -- one of the most sacred relics in Buddhism -- is expected to "inject a proud feeling and patriotism," a prominent Buddhist master said in Beijing Thursday.

The display, scheduled for next week in Hong Kong, is the first ever of its kind in the special administrative region.

At a news conference, Master Sheng Hui, executive deputy director of the mainland Buddhist Association, described Hong Kong Buddhism as a branch of the religion on the mainland. The bond between the two organizations has always been close, he said.

"This showcase event is approved by the central government, and that shows it cares very much about the Hong Kong people," Sheng said.

The relic, worshipped by Buddhists around the world, is believed to be part of the Buddha's remains preserved after Buddha achieved nirvana and before his cremation.

It was unearthed at the Famen Buddhist Temple in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province in 1987, after lying in obscurity for more than 1,000 years.

According to a report from the China News Agency, more than 100,000 visitor's tickets were distributed at no cost within a short time by the Hong Kong Buddhist Association last week.

It is estimated hundreds of thousands of people will come to the event in Hong Kong, where the population is about 6.8 million.

Kok Kwong, chairman of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association, said earlier this week that it is a rare opportunity for both the faithful and non-Buddhists all over the world to experience the Buddha's blessing.

He hoped the exhibition of the holy relic will encourage peace, patriotic compassion and national unity in Hong Kong.

He said his association and several other departments will do their utmost to ensure the safety of the relic. Twenty other national treasures are going to be displayed along with the finger bone.

The relic was once displayed in Taiwan in 2002, attracting more than 4 million visitors.

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