Extraordinary images of what was found inside a 2,500-year-old tooth belonging to the historical Buddha are making rounds on the internet. What is truly fascinating about this tooth are the ‘sarira’ – small relics in the shape of a pearl which are harder than diamond – embedded in its interior. This sight magnified by 1,000 times is likely to take your breath away.
The oldest and tallest wooden multi-structured building in the world – called ‘gett’ – was built in 1056 in Ying County, Shanxi Province, China, and has withstood the test of time.
This pagoda, built using traditional construction methods, is entirely made out of wood and was assembled without the use of nails or screws. Throughout the centuries, it has withstood numerous earthquakes, battles, and lightning strikes, and it still stands today – quite an impressive and strange feat considering the number of surrounding structures that have collapsed and crumbled over time. Some have attributed its permanence and endurance to the mysterious and sacred relics that the pagoda protects inside its walls.
In 1974, when the 221-feet-high pagoda underwent repairs, an unusual finding shed some light on the possible reason for its construction, and how this ancient structure got its name.
Two teeth that belonged to Shakyamuni Buddha, which walked our Earth about 2,500 years ago, were discovered inside. There are only seven teeth belonging to Buddha all over the world.
Since Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution – the sociopolitical movement launched in 1966 and ended in 1976 – caused the destruction of many priceless treasures, it is miraculous that Buddha’s teeth were not confiscated or destroyed.
After they were discovered, the teeth were sent to a laboratory run by one of the American Gem Society’s global associates located in Antwerp, Belgium. Upon having examined the relics, a team of experts concluded that the matter found embedded in one of the teeth did not come from Earth.
Such surreal matter is known as ‘sarira.’ It is usually found among the ashes of Buddhist spiritual masters since they cannot be destroyed by the fire in the cremation furnaces. This glossy substance has been found in numerous colors, and it may resemble pearls or shining glass-like pebbles.
Dr. Gao Bin, from the team of experts who analyzed Buddha’s teeth, started its examination by placing the relic under the water and then attempted to write with a pencil on its surface. Afterward, he discovered that the relic did not present any traces of pencil marks.
Then Dr. Gao dipped the pencil in ink and proceeded to once again draw lines on the relic. When he looked at it under a microscope, he saw that the ink lines had revealed numerous small spherical pearls.
After magnifying the sarira 1,000 times under an electron microscope, the doctor saw what resembled five seated Buddhas – four of them surrounding a larger Buddha in the middle. As if that was not mysterious enough, laboratory tests revealed even more unusual findings.
Although it has been determined that the tooth goes back to 2,500 years ago, Dr. Gao Bin has discovered that the numerous sariras embedded in the tooth are more than 3,000 million years old.
A thermal conductivity meter was also used to test the ‘sarira.’ The results show that the sarira presents an extraordinary thermal conductivity of 1,000~2,600 W/mK.
To try to put that into perspective, it has been proven that diamonds have the highest thermal conductivity, which is equivalent to 1,000 W/mK at temperatures exceeding 100K. The sariras found in Buddha’s tooth possess greater thermal conductivity than that of diamonds.
A pressure test of 2,000 T was also carried out to analyze how susceptible to graphitization the sariras were. This means that the team of experts observed if there was any degradation in the material’s microstructure after the pressure test was carried out – it was determined that the sarira remained completely intact.
The team of experts confirmed that these sariras are the hardest material found on Earth, which lead them to claim that they are virtually “indestructible.” Surprisingly, the otherworldly matter that composes the sariras cannot be found on Earth, and nor is it a material that humans can produce using modern equipment.
“The inorganic carbon content in the diamond’s chemical composition is 99.98 percent, and of the various minerals in nature, this is the only substance that is composed by a single element,” explained Dr. Gao.
He added that there are tens of millions of different kinds of crystalline, natural or manmade, and they can be divided into seven categories. The sarira belongs to the category of crystalline that present a system of hexagonal crystals.
More than 50 years ago a new diamond shape with a hexagonal structure – later called lonsdaleite by the crystallographer Dame Kathleen Lonsdale – was discovered in a meteorite that had crashed in northern Arizona.
Through a series of tests, Dr. Gao discovered that the structure of the sarira found in Buddha’s tooth may be similar to that of the lonsdaleite. This hypothesis has not yet been verified and will require further testing.
The sariras were subjected to a more thorough examination, including an infrared test, which confirmed that they were not made by human hands. The sariras’ composition was determined to be 98.07 percent carbon, with the remainder comprising sulfur, zinc, antimony, and tellurium.
After the examination, Dr. Gao could not help but exclaim: “It’s just too incredible! Unbelievable!” according to the Taiwanese website Aboluowang.
“These relics are priceless treasures!” concluded the expert.
When asked for an assessment of its monetary value, Dr. Gao stated that there is no way to determine the price of such a valuable and priceless treasure. He mentioned that if a price indication really had to be added, then he stated that each individual spherical sarira could fetch up to $25 million.