S. śarīra, "remaining bones." The remains of a buddha, bodhisattva, or eminent monk that are gathered after cremation and enshrined in a stupa. The veneration of relics of Shakamuni Buddha as a means of making merit is attested from an early time in the history of the Buddhist sangha in India, and has continued down to the present day in East Asia. Relics are also believed to have magical powers of purification and healing. →"stupa."