Author Topic: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?  (Read 26973 times)

Mana

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Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« on: January 02, 2012, 08:40:19 PM »
Some dental experts claimed that the Buddha tooth relic in Singapore's Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is fake, that it could not be a human's tooth, more likely an animal's tooth.

If the tooth is ABSOLUTELY not Buddha's tooth, does it still have power/blessings if one chooses to believe it is? Does making offering to it still collect merits by sheer faith?




source: http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=57,4484,0,0,1,0

Buddha tooth relic a clear fake, say experts

Singapore Dental experts have raised doubts over the authenticity of a purported Buddha's tooth in a Singapore temple, claiming it could not have come from any human being, The Sunday Times reported.

More than 60,000 donors poured 45 million Singapore dollars (905 million baht) and 27 kilogrammes of gold into the four-storey building where the tooth, said to be one of Buddha's molars, is kept in a 3.6-metre-high stupa made of gold.

''There is absolutely no possibility that it is a human tooth,'' Dr Pamela Craig, a senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne's school of dental science, was quoted as saying.

After examining photographs, Ms Craig said it probably came from a cow or water buffalo, but definitely not a human.

Human teeth should be rounded with a short crown and a comparatively longer root, but the picture clearly shows a long crown and a shorter root, she noted.

''Looking at a photo is clear enough, because it's so obvious that it's not a human tooth,'' she said. ''It's like comparing a pear and an apple.''

Four other dentists, including two forensic dental experts, agreed with the conclusion that the tooth could not have come from a human.

''This is an animal cheek tooth _ that is, a molar at the back of the mouth,'' Professor David Whittaker at Cardiff University in Britain told the newspaper.

The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Singapore's Chinatown said that the tooth was discovered by a monk in 1980 in Burma. He gave it to Venerable Shi Fazhao, the temple's abbot, in 2002.

The public is allowed to see the tooth twice a year, on Buddha's birthday and the first day of the Chinese New Year.

''To me, it has always been real, and I have never questioned its authenticity,'' Venerable Shi Fazhao told the newspaper.

As for the assessments of the dental experts, he said: ''I don't care what they say. If you believe it's real, then it's real.''

The temple dismissed the suggestion of conducting DNA tests on its relic.

''It is unlikely that any Buddhist temple or its devotees will agree to subject any sacred Buddha tooth or relic to such a test,'' the temple said in a statement.

« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 08:47:35 PM by Mana »

WisdomBeing

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Re: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2012, 02:10:38 AM »
This reminds me of the Tibetan story about a tooth relic.

Let me quickly share it here - There was a trader who often went travelling to India and his mother had implored him to bring back the Buddha's tooth as a relic for her. The trader was often busy and each time he came back from his travels, he forgot to look for a relic for his mother. One day as he was on his way home from yet another trip, he remembered that he had yet again not brought back a relic for his mother. As he looked around, he saw a dog carcass on the roadside and he quickly took a tooth from the dog's skull, cleaned it, wrapped it in brocade and took it home.

He presented it to his mother who immediately prostrated to the tooth and put it on her altar. Soon after, the trader left on yet another trip and he intended to get a genuine relic to replace the dog tooth. However, as usual, he forgot until he was on his way home. When he arrived home, he saw crowds outside his house. When he went in, he saw many people prostrating to his mother's altar. On the altar was a tooth which was radiating light. He asked his mother where this relic came from, as it was undoubtedly a genuine relic. His mother told him it was the one he brought back for her. Immediately the son also prostrated to the altar.

This story is a great example of the power of faith. It did not matter that the tooth came from a dog but because of the faith of the mother, it became transformed into a sacred object. The mother did not need to seek confirmation or proof that it was the Buddha's tooth. She simply believed.

It's like Buddha saying that if you see your teacher as an ordinary being, you will receive the blessings of an ordinary being. But if you see your teacher as a Buddha, you will receive the blessings of a Buddha. I do believe that we create our own reality.

Relics have been highly treasured throughout the ages by pilgrims and people of faith. I do believe that holy objects DO have power in the form of positive energy imbued in the item because of having been near a holy person or being. However, the intrinsic power of the object can be changed by the imputed power of the object. We actually do that all the time with secular items. For example, a t-shirt is a t-shirt, but when it is branded with the logo of Chanel on it, it is deemed as having immediately increased in value!

So to go back to the original question of whether the tooth in the Buddha tooth relic temple in Singapore is real or not - in a way, it doesn't matter. If many people have been inspired and blessed by the tooth relic in the temple, the relic is real to them.
Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

Tammy

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Re: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2012, 04:07:06 PM »
Agree with Wisdombeing!

It does not matter whether the tooth relic if real or not, most importantly is our mind. if those who visited it and pray in front of it believe it is real, it is real for them. and the merits collected by paying respect and making offerings to it is real.

The power of visualization! Offering a sand mandala is as good as offering mandala made of pure gold and flawless diamonds - the essence is how it is being visualized.
Down with the BAN!!!

vajrastorm

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Re: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2012, 08:36:34 AM »
Yes, it's not about whether the relic is a real one or a fake. It's about one's faith in Lord Buddha, as the story WB cited from the Lamrim shows. The relic is an object which forms the basis for one to pay homage to Lord Buddha. Thus it was really unnecessary for dentists to prove that the relic was not a real human tooth. Are they trying to discredit the people who are behind the setting up of the tooth relic temple or are they trying to cast doubts on people's belief in Buddha?.

Dolce Vita

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Re: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2012, 03:52:48 PM »
It is our view/perception that give the power to an object. If we see the 'fake tooth' as the genuine one, we will be able to to get the blessings and it becomes powerful. Same logic as the 'placebo' effect in medical field.

Placebo effect quoted from wikipedia:

"A placebo (play /pl??sibo?/; Latin: I shall please[2]) is a simulated or otherwise medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient. Sometimes patients given a placebo treatment will have a perceived or actual improvement in a medical condition, a phenomenon commonly called the placebo effect... The placebo effect points to the importance of perception and the brain's role in physical health"

diamond girl

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Re: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2012, 05:54:33 PM »
I understand the points here about the power of faith. Faith is the strong belief that something is true and thus practices accordingly. The mind thus controls the faith and belief. So, my question is, once a doubt is casted in the mind on the authenticity of an object of faith (in this case the tooth relic), how strong is the faith now? Is it not tainted with doubt even slightly? Would it not then reduce the power of faith? Are not the minds of believers affected?

WisdomBeing

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Re: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2012, 07:12:34 PM »
I guess that's when we realise the strength of our faith - when it is being tested. How easily our faith is shaken is a wonderful self-check on how strong our faith is. We always think that our faith is strong but when we hear something not so pleasant about a Dharma centre or our teacher or our practice - is our mind swayed? Even just a little? If so, it is time to contemplate why. In the gospels, Peter was told by Jesus that he would deny him three times before the cock crowed and Peter scoffed at it. But when push came to shove, the prediction came true as Peter was more concerned about his own skin than that of Jesus. I think that our faith is usually shaken when our egos come up – when we start to think of our own skin, our reputation or our comfort zone. When that is perceived to be threatened, then we may start to wonder if this is the right path for us and look for an escape – only to find that there actually is none.

Dorje Shugden practitioners are often tested as people will be quick to criticise, and often scathingly. I find that when people start being negative, it merely lets me reinforce my resolve and faith in Dorje Shugden. I guess it’s just how we look at it.
Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

DSFriend

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Re: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2012, 08:14:53 PM »
I do think people will receive blessings by sheer faith thought the object may not be what it is. Reason being, the faith is towards the three jewels.

So does that give people the license to make fake objects? Obviously not!

Realistically, we are living in the Kali Yuga age where morality is far less compared to the time of the golden age. People will do anything and everything just to make a few bucks.

Just to be very clear, I am only making this as a general statement and in no way referring to authenticity of the Singapore's Buddha tooth relic temple.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2012, 04:09:43 AM »
Buddhism is about education and knowledge and with such education and knowledge, creates our faith in the Buddhas.  Faith is within oneself and the object of belief, it really does not matter whether the tooth is a fake or not but if we have faith in the divine, does scientific logic really play a part.

So many "things" in life cannot be proven but happens, so if we create the CAUSE for "things" to happen it will.  All "CAUSES" happen due to belief and conviction. 

It is beyond any doubts, with faith and conviction, fake becomes real and vice versa.

Galen

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Re: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2012, 06:52:30 AM »
It boils down to the power of the mind which is so ever powerful. If we believe that the tooth relic is real, then it is real for that person and will forever be real. There is no point in testing the authenticity of the tooth as what benefits will it bring to the people? As of now, the temple is flourishing and has brought hope and prosperity for the people in Singapore. And this is what is more important.

With or without the relic, the temple is a point to spread buddhism. And there has been troves of people visiting the temple. The Sangha members and the practice is what is more important.

Just like when we pray to a buddha statue. Different statue looks different especially when it comes from different countries. The Thais, Burmese, Tibetans, Chinese etc. have different images of Buddha and is reflected in the statues. So which one is the real image of Buddha? Is it important? The faith in Buddhism is more important and the image is to help us in our visualisation.

 

Midakpa

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Re: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2012, 12:57:01 PM »
The question is not about whether the tooth is real or fake. The question is about one's faith. If one believes that it is the Buddha's tooth, then one will receive the benefits of one's faith. If we do not believe, nothing will happen. It is like the story of the old woman who was able to cook stones by reciting the mantra her guru gave her. Although she recited the mantra wrongly, it still had results and it saved her from dying of famine. All because she had faith in her guru's advice.  But when her son, who was a monk, told her that the mantra was wrong, she began to have doubts and her faith was destroyed.

Similarly, as a result of negative comments from the "scientific experts", some people will begin to have doubts. But those who continue to have faith will have positive results.

So what is faith? "Faith is a naturally virtuous mind that functions mainly to oppose the perception of faults in its observed object." (Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Joyful Path of Good Fortune) Faith is essential in Dharma practice, especially faith in one's guru, because faith is the root of all good qualities and realisations. Whether the guru is really a Buddha or not is not so important. What is important is to regard the guru as a Buddha. This is called believing faith. It is the first of the three types of faith. The other two are admiring faith and wishing faith.

pgdharma

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Re: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2012, 02:43:19 PM »
It does not matter if the relic is real or not. It still has powers. If one views the object as real then the object of veneration becomes holy and sacred, it has blessings. One still collects merits from sheer faith as faith is within us and not from the object. The story from WisdomBeing is a clear indication of how a dog tooth becomes a sacred object for veneration due to pure faith.

Big Uncle

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Re: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2012, 04:13:30 PM »
I think the earthly remains of a Buddha is merely a receptacle for enlightened energy. The same thing can be said of any statue, clothing or personal artifacts of the Buddha. What imbues this energy is by the power of the Buddha's mind. All it takes is faith and conviction to tap into the Buddha's mind and any item can be energized with the Buddha's energy especially when it is subject is the Sangha.

Even if the relic is not really the Buddha's relic, it became a relic through powerful prayers and aspirations by faithful pilgrims and the Sangha community. Anyway, relics are used not for fanatical worship but to be used to open up virtuous aspirations and prayers from a previous life so transformation of the mind can take place and the person can resume the spiritual practice of previous life. If there is none, it will plant the right seeds for the future. It does protect physically and has power to avert disasters and so forth but that is considered secondary or an ordinary blessing.

Tammy

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Re: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2012, 08:59:30 AM »
In my humble opinion, it is all depends on our mind! If we believe the tooth to be real and we pay homage to it in order to make karmic connection with the enlightened one, by sheer mind power, WE make the tooth real.

In Tibetan Buddhism, visualization is an important part of prayer ritual (or puja), by the power of our mind we mentally fill the space with offerings and make connection with the deity of the object..

Therefore, it is really deosnt matter if the tooth relic is real, because the prayers and real..

 
Down with the BAN!!!

kris

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Re: Does a fake Buddha tooth still have power?
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2012, 09:01:53 PM »
I felt it all depends on our faith in the Buddha. Whether the tooth is fake or not, if we have faith in Buddha, we will get the blessing and we will collect merits.

I once heard of a story. A women was reciting a mantra given by a monk everyday. She had faith in the monk and the mantra, and she has helped many people with the mantra. Until one day, someone told her that the mantra she had not been reciting the mantra correctly. She started having doubt, and from that day onwards, her mantra became less and less effective.

I think the moral or the story is that if we have faith in what we believe in, then it will definitely bring benefits to us, regardless if we are reciting mantra wrongly or offering to the "fake" tooth