On August 6 (the fifteenth of the seventh lunar month), the annual Ullambana Festival was held at the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in northern California. On that day the sharira (relics) of the late Elder Master Venerable Hsuan Noble Hua, founder of the Sagely City, were placed on public display.
According to historical records, the people of ancient India used the term “sharira” to refer to rice grains. After Shakyamuni entered Nirvana and his body was cremated, there were bone relics resembling five-colored pearls, luminous and hard, about the size of grains of rice, and they were called sharira. It is recorded in the Sutras that sharira are gained through being permeated by the cultivation of precepts, samadhi, and wisdom. They are very rare and serve as supreme fields of blessings. The Sutra of Golden Light says, “Sharira are what is important in the merit and virtue of cultivating the Six Paramitas.” Therefore, the appearance of sharira after cremation proves that the cultivator has considerable attainment in precepts, samadhi, and wisdom.
The Venerable Master Hua’s sharira number over ten thousand. There are several thousand clustered sharira and twelve teeth sharira. The sharira are white, light yellow, green, blue, purple, black, and other colors. Some of the sharira which are formed on the bones gleam like green jade; they are particularly rare. There are twelve teeth among the sharira. One of the Venerable Master’s disciples was moved to say, “In his life, the Venerable Master lectured on the Sutras and spoke Dharma in several tens of thousands of assemblies. No wonder his teeth have become sharira!” Another disciple commented, “The Venerable Master only speaks true and actual words. That’s why his teeth have become sharira.”