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Gautam Budhha. Image source: www.indiamarks.com
  • The bone was uncovered back in 2008 and it was finally put on display sometime back in 2012 in Hong Kong
  • The skull bone was located inside a stupa model, a dome-shaped building erected as a Buddhist shrine
  • Deming apparently found the skull bone in a temple in China that was destroyed 1400 years ago

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth,” a quote by Buddha that proved true for archaeologists from the Nanjing Municipal Institute in China when they discovered the fragment of a skull bone, which belonged to Siddhartha Gautama. A find as enormous as the one above lacked any media coverage from the west, until now.

The bone was uncovered back in 2008 and it was finally put on display sometime back in 2012 in Hong Kong. The absence of western media on the scene till its publication in an English report is not what’s strange here; it’s instead the absence of anything more than some circumstantial evidence to prove that the bone actually belonged to Buddha.


Hidden away like a Nesting doll

The skull bone was located inside a stupa model, a dome-shaped building erected as a Buddhist shrine. It was hidden inside a casket of gold that was inside this model shrine, which was made of sandalwood, silver and gold, and was covered with gemstones made of crystal, glass, agate, and lapis lazuli. The casket of gold was decorated with different designs, said the Indiatimes report.

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The phoenix bird and some musical instruments were part of the intricate designs. On the other hand, the stupa had names of people, who constructed the model and the ones that donated to build it, inscribed on it. A man called Deming wrote these inscriptions. As described in the relics he was a “Master of Perfect Enlightenment, Abbot of Chengtian Monastery [and] the Holder of the Purple Robe.”


Remains of Buddha’s skull. Image source: indiatimes.com

Speculations and Doubts

“May the Heir Apparent and the imperial princes be blessed and prosperous with 10,000 offspring; may Civil and Military Ministers of the Court be loyal and patriotic; may the three armed forces and citizens enjoy a happy and peaceful time.”

The quote above comes from the inscription that was found in the parietal bone, a bone that forms the side and top of the cranium. Even though Deming clearly stated in the inscription that the bone belongs to Buddha, there is no concrete evidence to back that up. There is a lot of speculation about it and the experts believe that the circumstantial evidence is not enough.

History behind the exploration

Deming wrote that subsequently after Buddha “entered parinirvana”- the conclusive death that ends the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, King Ashoka ordered to preserve the Buddha, remains, mentioned the Indiatimes report. The body was divided into 84,000 parts, out of these 84,000 shares 19 were received by China.

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Deming apparently found the skull bone in a temple in China that was destroyed 1400 years ago. He wrote, “In this time of turbulence, did no one care for Buddhist affairs?”

-prepared by Karishma Vanjani, an intern at NewsGram.

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