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Walking the path to restoration

By Francois Dubé | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-02 07:29

Precious relics

Beside its striking architecture, perhaps the main reason for the pagoda's fame among Buddhist pilgrims is the precious treasures it houses, perhaps the most precious of which are two teeth that are believed to be those of Sakyamuni, the Buddha himself.

These relics were discovered on June 18, 1966, when a silver box with flower engravings was found inside the Buddha statue. In the box were a few gems, Buddhist scrolls and two teeth.

In the winter of 2005, the highly respected Buddhist monk Hui Li, hailing from Taiwan, visited the pagoda during his tour of Chinese mainland.

When he saw the teeth, the monk was deeply shocked and filled with an indescribable bliss. He later said he felt an "infinite joy" at the sight of these relics of the Buddha.

Hui was quick to contact other Buddhist masters to ascertain the value of the sacred objects based on Buddhist records.

It was discovered that after the Buddha had ascended to nirvana, some of his relics were brought back to China via the Silk Road, together with scriptures, and were eventually given to high officials of the early Tang dynasty (618-907). One of these officials was General Li Jing, whose home was located in Yingxian. It was there that the tower was built to protect the precious relics.

Master Hui began spreading the news of the discovery of Buddha's relics. On Sept 5, 2006, the 950th anniversary of the completion of the pagoda, the teeth were publicly displayed for the first time and thousands of believers came to pay their respects.

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