A study on the importance of the veneration of relics in Buddhism.
Buddhism is popularly seen as a religion stressing the truth of impermanence. How, then, to account for the long-standing veneration of bone fragments, hair, teeth, and other body parts said to come from the historic Buddha?
Early Western scholars of the religion, influenced by their own characteristic Protestant bias against relic worship, d such practices to be superstitious and fraudulent, and far from the essence of Buddhism. John Strong's book, by contrast, argues that relic veneration has played a serious and integral role in Buddhist traditions - and it is in no way foreign to Buddhism.
This book is structured around the life of the Buddha, starting with traditions about relics of previous Buddhas and relics from the past lives of Buddha Shakyamuni. It then considers the death of the Buddha, the collection of his bodily relics after his cremation, and stories of their spread to different parts of Asia. The book ends with a consideration of the legend of the future parinirvana of the relics prior to the advent of the next Buddha, Maitreya.