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Grand opening for new home for Buddhist relic

A GRAND ceremony will mark the relocation of the state treasure of the Buddhist Finger Sarira to a new 5-billion yuan (US$730 million) Sarira Pagoda complex at Famen Temple in Shaanxi Province on May 9.

The finger bone of the Sakyamuni Buddha will then be on display permanently in the underground hall of the temple, Xian Kong, the chief administrative monk of the temple in northwest China's Fufeng County, said yesterday in a press conference at the second World Buddhist Forum in Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province.

The whole project including the 148-meter Sarira Pagoda and a 1,500-meter Buddha Light Avenue with huge granite figures of Buddha, cost more than 5 billion yuan, China News Service reported today.

The new pagoda, 100 kilometers away from the capital Xi'an, is shaped to resemble the traditional Buddhist greeting, the Namaste, where Buddhists or monks greet people with their hands together, fingers touching and pointing upwards.

Archaeologists found the finger bone with 2,000 other Tang-dynasty (618-907 AD) relics in a 1,000-year-old underground hall in the Famen Temple in 1987.

The Buddhist Sarira from the Famen Temple attracted over 600,000 visitors in Hong Kong in May, 2004.

The Sarira has also been displayed in Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand.


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