There are many places that claim to have a part of the Buddha, a tooth, ashes, a footprint (sri pada) etc.

I would like to know, according to Theravada tradition (but I accept answers from other traditions), what is recognizable as being true? What is left on earth from the Buddha?

  • The dharma is left on earth from the Buddha. When I look at my hand, I can see the Buddha.
    – Thien
    Nov 17, 2014 at 13:50
  • I see your point and of course Dhamma is our teacher now. The question is because there are too many claims out there and I would like to know which one has credibility in the tradition (if any).
    – konrad01
    Nov 17, 2014 at 14:32

2 Answers 2


I found this information on Wikipedia. I hope you find it useful!


In January 1898, W.C. Peppe led a team of men to unearth a large mound on his land. Having cleared away scrub and jungle they set to work building a deep trench through the mound. Eventually they came to a large stone coffer which, on opening, contained five small vases containing ashes and jewels .[6]

On one of the vases was an inscription which was translated at the time to mean "This relic deposit of the Lord Buddha is the share of this renowned Sakya brethren, his own sister’s children and his own son;" meaning that this reliquary contained the ashes of the Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama[note 1], a member of the Sakyas [4] (however, there is no mention in the Buddhist scriptures of the Buddha having a sister). And in the 1970s the original interment site of the Buddha's ashes at Piprahwa was claimed to have been discovered by the Indian archaeologist S.M. Srivastava several feet deeper than the coffer containing the relics that W.C. Peppe had excavated.[5] This find was dated by Srivastava to the period in which Buddha lived.


I practice Mahayana tradition so I hope you do not mind my comments from my perspective.

In my practice, I try not to have too much attachment with Buddha's relics (Chinese: 舍利, Sanskrit: śarīra). As long as I have Buddha's teachings in my heart and actions, that's the most important thing.

That being said, I have seen Buddha's relics a few times and they are truly fascinating. More crystal-like matter organically grow from the original relic, and they can vary in different form, colour and size. The Tibetan establishment across the street from where I live has relics from Buddha and his foremost students. I was very fascinated by Moggallana's relics as they were very dark, which was caused his unwholesome actions in the past and led to his tragic death being clubbed to death.

In Chinese Buddhism records diligent individuals (monks and lays) also leave behind relics. As they have completed the training in this life they leave their body behind, the relics withstand cremation and are collected by fellow Buddhists and honored for their accomplishment.

Relics are not exclusive to Buddhists. Before Buddha's time many Hindu sages also leave behind relics. Any beings who successfully transcends to the Realm of Form and beyond may leave behind relics. Therefore, relics may not be reliable evidence that one has liberated from Samsara.

Hope this is helpful. If there is anything I can improve with this reply, please kindly let me know :)

  • The Lotus Sutra says that the whole body of the Buddha is contained in the text of the Sutra.
    – Methexis
    Jan 13, 2015 at 18:41

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