The Buddha’s Relics and the Mystery of Vethadipa

As word of the Buddha’s passing spread delegations from the various states in north India converged on Kusinara hoping to get the ashes that remained after the Buddha’s cremation. The Sakyans wanted them because, as their representative said; “The Tathagata was the greatest of our clan.” The envoy of the Ajatasattu king of Magadha said that his master was entitled to the ashes because he was of the warrior caste as was the Buddha. The Mallas of Kusinara, arguing from the standpoint of possession being nine-tenths of the law, said; “The Tathagata attained final Nirvana in the precincts of our town and we will not give up his ashes.” In all, eight claimants were involved in this unseemly dispute, the others being the Licchavis of Vesali, the Bulayas of Allakappa, the Koliyas of Ramagama, the Mallas of Pava and a brahman of Vethadipa.



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