A rare piece of bone of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, was flown back to east China's Jiangsu Province on Friday after being worshiped in Hong Kong and Macao.
The Buddha's remains, or sarira, will be available for public worship in Qixia Temple in the provincial capital of Nanjing between May 5 and June 6 to mark the "Month of Buddhist Culture."
The parietal bone, part of the human skull, arrived at Nanjing's Lukou Airport by chartered plane at 2 p.m. Friday after being enshrined in the Hong Kong Coliseum and the Macao East Asian Games Dome from April 25 to May 4.
The trips to Hong Kong and Macao marked the first time the sacred remains have been worshipped outside the Chinese mainland since being unearthed in June 2010 in Nanjing.
On Friday afternoon, a grand ceremony was held in Qixia Temple to welcome them back. The event was attended by over 1,000 people, including eminent Buddhist monks from the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao.
It is said that, 2,500 years ago, disciples recovered one parietal bone, four teeth and two collar bones from the cremation ashes of Sakyamuni.
King Asoka (273 BC - 232 BC), an Indian ruler who allegedly collected some of Sakyamuni's remains, stored them in pagoda-like shrines and sent them to different parts of the world.
The pagoda in Nanjing is believed to be one of tens of thousands of "King Asoka's pagodas" that contain Sakyamuni's remains. According to ancient Buddhist records, China was once home to 19 of the pagodas, seven of which are believed to have been discovered thus far.