Around 400 people in Banteay Meanchey province on Thursday joined a religious ceremony to welcome a purported relic of the Buddha to a pagoda in Serei Sophoan City.
The relic—a bone fragment the size of a single grain of milled rice—was obtained by a group of monks from the city’s Sopheak Mongkul pagoda during a recent visit to Sri Lanka, said provincial governor Kousoum Saroeuth.
“I can’t say whether this is a real Buddha relic or not, but the Buddhist clergy [at the pagoda] made it clear that this is a Buddhist relic brought from Sri Lanka in 2013,” he said.
During Thursday’s ceremony, the relic was placed inside a new $100,000 stupa at the pagoda, built using donated funds, said the governor of the province which is near the Thai border.
Khim Sorn, chief of the secretariat of the Mohanikaya Buddhist order, said such celebrations were positive, whether or not the relic was real.
“It is not important whether it’s a Buddha relic or not, but we hold the ceremony and respect Buddhism because we believe in Buddha,” he said.