Tuesday, May 25, 2004
China Gives Hong Kong the Finger
HONG KONG (AP) -- Beijing is lending Hong Kong one of the Buddha's fingers for public display. The relic, held in a bulletproof glass box, was flown in Tuesday afternoon -- just in time for the Buddha's birthday celebrations here Wednesday. It will be shown for 10 days in this largely Buddhist territory.
Saffron-robed monks escorted the finger off an airplane that brought it from Xianyang in Shaanxi province. It was transferred onto a truck decorated in gold paneling and lotus flowers as a band played welcoming music. Senior monks prayed and sounded horns before the finger was driven to an exhibition venue.
Buddha died about 483 B.C. After his cremation, some historians believe his bones were saved by Indian monks and that a few pieces were brought to China later. The finger bone to be displayed in Hong Kong was among Buddhist relics discovered in an underground shelter at Famen Temple near the ancient capital of Xian in central China in 1987.
A senior Communist Party official, Liu Yandong, was set to officiate at an opening ceremony for the finger's display from Wednesday through June 4. The relic is believed to bring peace and luck.
No official statistics are available, but academics say the majority of Hong Kong's 6.8 million Chinese believe in some form of Buddhism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion or a combination of those faiths.
Posted by Shokai at 3:21 PM