Four holy relics of Lord Buddha from Kapilvastu placed at Gandan Monastery in Mongolia

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Four sacred relics of Lord Buddha were kept at the Gandan Monastery in Mongolia from Kapilvastu, India, to mark the Mongolian Buddha Purnima celebrated on June 14.

  • Four sacred Kapilavastu relics brought from India by a delegation led by Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju, and other relics from Mongolia will be displayed at Gandan for Buddhist devotees to visit till June 24.

  • Four holy relics from India were brought to Mongolia on 13 June. 

  • A 25-member delegation led by Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju has arrived in Mongolia with the holy relics.

  • The main Buddha statue at Gandan Monastery was gifted to the people of Mongolia by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 and was installed in 2018.

  • The Kapilvastu relic is one of the 22 special relics housed in the National Museum of the Ministry of Culture.

  • What are the holy relics?

  • According to Buddhist belief, Buddha attained salvation at the age of 80 in Kushinagar (Uttar Pradesh).

  • The Mallas of Kushinagar performed his last rites as a universal king.

  • The relics from the funeral pyre were collected and divided into eight shares.

  • It was distributed among the Licchavis of Vaishali, Sakyas of Kapilavastu, Ajathsatrus of Magadha, Mallas of Kushinagar, Mallas of Pava, Bullies of Allakappa, Koliyas of Ramagrama and a Brahmana of Vethadipa.

  • Its purpose was to build stupas over the sacred relics. 

  • The stupas over the bodily remains of Buddha (Sarrika Stupa) are the oldest surviving sacred places of Buddhism.

  • Ashoka (272-232 BCE), an ardent follower of Buddhism, is believed to have built seven stupas.

  • Kapilvastu Relics

  • The discovery of an inscribed coffin at the stupa site at Piprahwa (near Siddharthnagar in Uttar Pradesh) helped identify ancient Kapilavastu.

  • The inscription on top of the coffin mentions the relics of the Buddha and his community, the Shakyas.

  • Records from the Union Ministry of Culture show that this discovery was followed by several explorations.

  • The excavation of the stupa by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1971-77 led to the discovery of two other relic coffins containing 22 sacred bone remains, which are now under the supervision of the National Museum.

  • This was followed by the discovery of more than 40 terracotta ceilings which establish that Piprahwa was the ancient city of Kapilvastu.

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