Relic of the tooth of the Buddha

The relic of the tooth of Buddha (Pali danta dhātuya) is venerated in Sri Lanka as a sacred cetiya relic of Lord Buddha, who is the founder of Buddhism, the fourth largest religion worldwide.


The relic in India

According to Sri Lankan legends, when the Buddha died in 543 BC, his body was cremated in a sandalwood pyre at Kushinagar and his left canine tooth was retrieved from the funeral pyre by his disciple, Khema. Khema then gave it to King Brahmadatte for veneration.[1] It became a royal possession in Brahmadatte's country and was kept in the city of Dantapuri (modern Puri, Odisha).

A belief grew that whoever possessed the tooth relic had a divine right to rule that land.[2] The Dāṭhāvaṃsa recounts the tale of a war fought over the relic 800 years later between Guhasiva of the republic of Kalinga and a king named Pandu.[3]

The relic in Sri Lanka

Atadage was the house of relic of tooth during Polonnaruwa era.
The tooth sanctuary

Legend states the Abhayagiri vihāra was first appointed custodianship of the relic when it was brought to the island after the conflict in Kalinga. As time went on, the land was threatened with foreign invasions; at one time, King Bayinnaung of Toungoo dynasty in Burma had offered the Portuguese invaders £50,000 as ransom to save the sacred tooth;[1] and the seat of the kingdom was moved from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa, then to Dambadeniya and other cities. Upon each change of capital, a new palace was built to enshrine the relic. Finally, it was brought to Kandy where it is at present, in the Temple of the Tooth.[2] The scholar Charles Boxer, however, claimed that the tooth was "publicly pounded to smithereens with a mortar and pestle by the Archbishop of Goa"[4] as one of the results of the Church's attempt to eradicate native religions [no date given but inferred 1550s or so].

The relic came to be regarded as a symbolic representation of the Buddha and it is on this basis that there grew up a series of offerings, rituals, and ceremonies. These are conducted under the supervision of the two Mahanayakas of Malwatte, Asgiriya chapters, and Diyawadana Nilame of the Maligawa. These have a hierarchy of officials and temple functionaries to perform the services and rituals.[5]

Other tooth relics

Aside from the relic in Sri Lanka, several relics in other countries are also reputed to be a tooth-relic of the Buddha.

See also


  1. "The Buddha's Tooth". Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  2. "Top 10 Religious Relics". Time. April 19, 2010. Archived from the original on April 23, 2010. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  3. Dhammakitti (1874). The Daṭhávansa; or, The history of the tooth-relic of Gotama Buddha [by Dhammakitti]. Tr., with notes, by Mutu Coomára Swámy. Trübner & Company. p. 42.
  4. Charles R. Boxer, The Portuguese Seaborne Mission 1415-1825, London, 1969, p. 74
  5. "Customary handover of Thewawa today".
  6. "The Eight Great Temples in the Western Hills (Badachu)". Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  7. "History: Fo Guang Year 32". Fo Guang Shan Monastery. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  8. "Temple Name: Engaku-ji". Rinzai-Obaku Zen. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  9. "The History of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum". Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  10. "No April Fools': Followers Claim Rare Buddha's Tooth With Healing Powers Continues to Grow". NBC. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  11. "The 10,000 Relics Collection". Bodhi Light International. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  12. City information of Hyderabad, Nagarjunasagar, Nagarjunakonda, Warangal, Medak
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.