Truest Relics

Some friends comment that some relics (sairira) of great Buddhist masters look quite ordinary, in the sense that they can’t even tell for sure if they can be considered holy relics. The truth is, it is indeed not easy to verify if some remains are truly of unique significance.

However, the truest relics always are non-physical – they are the teachings of the masters. Any physical remains of the masters, be they special-looking or not, should remind us of their teachings (the Dharma). What made the masters great and special, anyway, is their teachings in theory and example, not anything else.

Who knows? A master might manifest ordinary relics precisely to urge us to look at their teachings when we wonder why they are considered great enough to have even their ordinary-looking remains be revered as relics. Whether they really are or not is another matter!