More than 100 Buddhist monks arrived at China's oldest Buddhist temple on Monday to present a precious sarira gifted from Thailand, said local authorities, Xinhua reported on Sept 24.
The sarira, a bead-shaped object said to be collected from the cremated ashes of Buddhist masters, is to be placed in a Thai-style garden at the 1,946-year-old Baima Temple in Luyong, central China's Henan province, to celebrate the garden's recent renovation.
The garden was first built in 1992. Eighteen years later, Thailand funded expansion and reconstruction of the garden, which now covers 11,664 square meters.
According to a member of the Thai entourage, the sarira was discovered by a British archaeologist on the border of India and Nepal between 1896 and 1898, and was said to belong to Sakyamuni. India gave it to King Rama V of Thailand in 1898.
A grand ceremony to welcome the sarira is to be launched this Friday, when the gift shall be shown to visitors.
The Baima Temple, also known as White Horse Temple, was the first Buddhist temple in China and considered "the cradle of Chinese Buddhism" by most believers.
A 7.2-meter-tall bronze Buddha statue in the hall of the Thai garden was also gifted by Thailand. The mural, covering 248 square meters, was created by a famous Thai artist to tell the life story of Sakyamuni.