1,000-year-old miniature pagoda may hold top part of Buddha's skull

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New Delhi, Nov 24 : Archaeologists have determined that a 1,000-year-old miniature pagoda, which was recovered from an iron case found at a former temple site in China, could hold the top part of Buddha's skull.

The pagoda was taken out of an iron box found in a secret underground chamber in the Changgan Temple ruins in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province.

It is believed to be one of the 84,000 "pagodas of King Asoka (273 BC - 236 BC) that contain Buddha's sarira, or his remains found in the cremation ash.

Sarira, which are generic terms for "Buddhist relics", are highly sacred for Buddhists.

The pagoda unearthed in Nanjing is made of wood, covered with gilded silver and inlaid with "seven treasures," such as gold, silver, colored glaze, agate and amber.

It conforms to historical records of the "Seven-Treasure Pagoda of King Asoka" buried under the Changgan Temple, the second temple housing Sakyamuni's sarira in China.

The remains of Buddha's finger, kept in the Famen Temple in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi province, was said to be the only part of his body remaining in the world today.

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