Jeweled Demise

Vicki Mackenzie investigates the mystery of Buddhist relics.

Vicki Mackenzie

Article Preview

To access this entire article and all other member-supported
content, join Tricycle as a Supporting or Sustaining Member



Sariputra Relic

I HAVE A TYPICALLY Protestant take on relics: I'm skeptical. I mean, how many pieces of the true cross can there be? I had come to Bodh Gaya, India, scene of the Buddha's enlightenment, for the Kalachakra initiation given by the Dalai Lama in 2003. I had a few hours to kill, and I came across a display of relics in the middle of an otherwise empty field. A small statue of the seated Maitreya--the Buddha to Come--presided over two neat rows of glass cases. At first glance, it was a typical collection: a fragment of a letter purporting to be written by the ninth-century Tibetan yogini Yeshe Tsogyal; a bit of bone from a saint; a piece of tooth said to belong to Kashyapa Buddha, the Buddha before Shakyamuni, and which, the label alleged, was reproducing itself. Nothing new here, I thought.

Share with a Friend

Email to a Friend

Already a member? Log in to share this content.

You must be a Tricycle Community member to use this feature.

1. Join as a Basic Member

Signing up to Tricycle newsletters will enroll you as a free Tricycle Basic Member.You can opt out of our emails at any time from your account screen.

2. Enter Your Message Details

Enter multiple email addresses on separate lines or separate them with commas.

Become a Supporting Member

*With Autorenew

  • You Get
  • Tricycle | The Magazine - a one-year subscription to premier Buddhist quarterly
  • Tricycle Retreats - a new online video teaching every every week by a contemporary Buddhist teacher
  • Tricycle | The Digital Edition - web based edition of the magazine
  • The Wisdom Collection - nearly two decades of teachings by the world's most compelling teachers, from the pages of Tricycle
  • Tricycle Gallery - the best in Buddhist art to download and share with friends
  • Tricycle Book Club - online discussions with leading Buddhist authors
  • Tricycle Discussions - teacher-led explorations of dharma in daily life
  • The Tricycle Blog - our diary of the global Buddhist movement
  • Daily Dharma - heart advice delivered direct to your inbox
  • The Tricycle Newsletter - the latest news, teachings, events, and more, every Monday

Become a Supporting Member

Become a Sustaining Member

*With Autorenew

  • You Get
  • Tricycle | The Magazine - a one-year subscription to premier Buddhist quarterly
  • Tricycle Retreats - a new online video teaching every every week by a contemporary Buddhist teacher
  • Tricycle | The Digital Edition - web based edition of the magazine
  • The Wisdom Collection - nearly two decades of teachings by the world's most compelling teachers, from the pages of Tricycle
  • Tricycle Gallery - the best in Buddhist art to download and share with friends
  • Tricycle Book Club - online discussions with leading Buddhist authors
  • Tricycle Discussions - teacher-led explorations of dharma in daily life
  • The Tricycle Blog - our diary of the global Buddhist movement
  • Daily Dharma - heart advice delivered direct to your inbox
  • The Tricycle Newsletter - the latest news, teachings, events, and more, every Monday

Become a Sustaining Member