Why Is Buddha’S Tooth So Big?

The tooth of Buddha, also known as the sacred tooth relic, has an extraordinarily large size that has intrigued many over the centuries. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: according to Buddhist legends, Buddha was a superhuman figure capable of marvelous feats, so his bodily remnants were also extraordinary, including his teeth.

In this article, we’ll explore the legends behind the sacred tooth relic, examining Buddhist beliefs about Buddha’s superhuman abilities and the meaning behind the tooth’s massive size. We’ll also analyze the theories modern scholars have proposed about the tooth’s origins and symbolism.

The Legends Behind Buddha’s Tooth

One of the most revered relics in Buddhism is the tooth of Gautama Buddha. This sacred tooth has a rich history and is believed to possess great spiritual power. Many legends surround the tooth, explaining its miraculous survival, attributing superhuman traits to Buddha, and highlighting its symbolic significance in the Buddhist tradition.

The miracle of the tooth’s survival

The first legend revolves around the miraculous preservation of Buddha’s tooth. According to ancient texts, after Buddha’s cremation, his disciples were left with his ashes and a tooth. They were unsure of how to honor these precious relics, so they decided to divide them among themselves.

However, as soon as they began to divide the ashes, the tooth multiplied itself, allowing each disciple to receive a tooth. This phenomenon is seen as a divine intervention and is believed to be a sign of Buddha’s spiritual presence and protection.

This legend not only emphasizes the miraculous nature of the tooth but also highlights the unity and equality among Buddha’s disciples, as they all received a piece of the sacred relic.

Beliefs about Buddha’s superhuman traits

Another fascinating aspect of the legends surrounding Buddha’s tooth is the belief in his superhuman qualities. According to Buddhist traditions, Gautama Buddha possessed extraordinary powers, including the ability to materialize his body in different forms, such as a giant or a deity.

It is believed that these superhuman traits extended to his tooth as well.

The tooth is said to have grown in size or changed color based on the spiritual energy surrounding it. Devotees claim to have witnessed the tooth glowing or emitting a divine light during religious ceremonies.

These phenomena are seen as manifestations of Buddha’s enlightenment and his ongoing presence in the world.

The symbolism of the tooth relic

The tooth relic holds immense symbolic significance in Buddhism. It represents the wisdom and enlightenment of Buddha, as well as his teachings on the path to liberation from suffering. The tooth is considered a powerful reminder of the impermanence of life and the importance of following the Buddhist path.

Throughout history, various kingdoms and empires have vied for possession of the tooth relic, believing that it would bring them prosperity and divine protection. Today, the sacred tooth is enshrined in the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka, where it is venerated by millions of Buddhists from around the world.

For more information on the legends and significance of Buddha’s tooth relic, you can visit Buddhanet.net, a reputable source on Buddhist teachings and traditions.

Explanations for the Tooth’s Size

Was it really one of Buddha’s teeth?

The question of whether the tooth housed in the Temple of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka, is indeed one of Buddha’s teeth has been a topic of debate among historians and scholars. While some believe that it is an authentic relic, others are more skeptical.

The tooth is said to be exceptionally large, leading some to question its authenticity. However, proponents argue that the size of the tooth could be attributed to its symbolic significance rather than its actual origins.

Theories that it belonged to another person

One theory suggests that the tooth may have belonged to another revered spiritual figure, rather than Buddha himself. This theory posits that the tooth was brought to Sri Lanka from India during ancient times, and over time, it came to be associated with Buddha.

The tooth’s large size could be explained by the belief that it belonged to a figure of great spiritual power and influence, regardless of whether it was Buddha or another enlightened being.

Symbolic or supernatural origins

Another explanation for the tooth’s size lies in its symbolic or supernatural origins. Some believe that the tooth is not a physical relic but a representation of Buddha’s teachings and enlightenment. In this view, the tooth’s size is meant to symbolize the immense wisdom and spiritual power that Buddha possessed.

Others go even further and suggest that the tooth may have supernatural origins, with its size serving as a testament to its divine nature.

While there is no definitive answer to why Buddha’s tooth is so big, it is clear that the tooth holds great significance for Buddhists around the world. Whether it is a physical relic or a symbolic representation, the tooth serves as a reminder of Buddha’s teachings and the path to enlightenment.

The Tooth Relic’s Significance

The tooth relic of Buddha holds immense significance in Buddhist culture and has been venerated for centuries. This sacred relic is believed to be the left canine tooth of Gautama Buddha and is considered one of the most important relics in Buddhism.

The tooth relic is said to have been enshrined in various locations throughout history, with its current resting place being the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

Veneration over centuries

Since its discovery, the tooth relic has been venerated by millions of Buddhists worldwide. It is believed to possess great spiritual power and is considered a symbol of enlightenment and spiritual purity.

Pilgrims from all over the world visit the Temple of the Tooth to pay their respects and seek blessings. The tooth relic is enshrined in a gold casket shaped like a stupa, adorned with precious gems and jewels.

The veneration of the tooth relic goes beyond religious significance. It is also seen as a symbol of national pride and cultural heritage. The Sri Lankan government takes great pride in preserving and protecting this sacred relic, as it plays a crucial role in promoting tourism and showcasing the country’s rich Buddhist history.

Bloody conflicts surrounding the tooth

Throughout history, the tooth relic has been the cause of bloody conflicts and power struggles. Several kingdoms and empires fought over the possession of the tooth relic, believing that it would bring them power and prosperity.

The tooth relic was often seen as a talisman of protection and a symbol of divine favor.

One notable conflict is the battle between the Portuguese and the Kingdom of Kandy in the 16th century. The Portuguese, who sought to convert the people of Sri Lanka to Christianity, waged war against the Kandyans in an attempt to seize the tooth relic.

However, the Kandyans fiercely protected the relic, eventually driving the Portuguese out of the country.

Impact on Sri Lankan national identity

The tooth relic has played a significant role in shaping Sri Lankan national identity. It is seen as a unifying force among the diverse ethnic and religious communities in the country. The annual Esala Perahera, a grand procession held in Kandy to honor the tooth relic, brings people from all walks of life together in a celebration of their shared heritage.

The tooth relic has also become a symbol of peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. It holds the power to bridge divides and foster understanding among different communities. Its presence in the Temple of the Tooth is a testament to the country’s commitment to preserving its cultural and religious diversity.


While many questions remain about the origins and meaning of Buddha’s massive tooth relic, its endurance as an object of veneration illustrates the profound role it has played for Buddhists across spans of time.

The legends, mysteries and conflicts surrounding this tooth speak to the complex interweaving of spirituality, identity and politics throughout Sri Lankan history.

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