Eighty thousand pieces of relics (Sarira in Sanskrit) were left after the death and cremation (Parinirvana in Sanskrit is a Buddhist term) of Shakyamuni Buddha.

In 259 B.C., King Asoka united the neighboring countries, and declared to adopt Buddhism as the national religion. He convened the Third Council in the history of Buddhism to collect, edit and publish all Buddha's teachings, i.e. Tripataka. He also decided to open the Mahaparinirvana Hall and take out the relics of Shakyamuni Buddha. King Asoka then distributed the eighty four thousand relics to different areas within and without the country to disseminate Buddhism in the whole wide world.

In 240 B.C., a group of 18 monks (Samana in Sanskrit) and followers carried 19 parts of relics to China. During their journey, Buddha in his spiritual form told them that they had to keep the relics hidden, and only to reveal them later when Chinese people would have accepted Buddhism. The monks then followed the instruction and buried the relics in a 'sacred tomb'.

They arrived at Chang-an and visited Emperor Chin. Unfortunately, they were accused of 'confusing people and conspiring riots' and were jailed. The government burnt all the sutras and disposed of them like garbage.

Later, a heavenly general (Vajra in Sanskrit) broke into the prison and rescued the 18 people. They decided to split into four groups, and preached Buddhism secretly in four directions with the capital Chang-an as the centre. They also agreed to meet together every year in the 'sacred tomb' on the 8th of April, i.e. the birthday of Shakyamuni Buddha. They reported, exchanged and shared their experience in preaching.

While they did not have the sutras, they could only taught and transmitted Buddhism by word of mouth. With their death, Buddhism was unable to gain a solid footing in China. Their will could only be achieved and realized several hundred years after.

In 64 A.D., Emperor Ming of Han Dynasty had a wonderful dream, which was interpreted as auspicious one. Based on his dream, he ordered his officers to seek for the Indian monks in the west. It was almost two years before they met two monks in Kusha. They were Kashyapamtanga and Dharmaraksha, who rode on white horses carrying the portrait of Shakyamuni Buddha and the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters. They were cordially invited to settle in Lo-yang. Emperor Ming built a temple for them to teach him Buddhist doctrines, and to translate the sutras into Chinese. It was officially regarded as the beginning of Buddhism in China.

In 148 A.D., another monk called An Shih-kao from An-hsi went to China. He saw colorful flashes of light in an abandoned graveyard on the way and immediately reported to the Emperor, who asked people to explore and dig in the graveyard. Within half a day, they found eight pieces of tiles with Sanskrit scriptures written by the 18 people. More importantly, the scripture indicated that 19 pieces of relics were buried 3 feet under the tiles. An Shih-kao brought the relics to the Emperor in Lo-yang, who intended to build a stupa to keep the relics in the palace.

However, An Shih-kao requested the Emperor to keep these relics in different areas, so that Buddhism could spread rapidly in China. With the consent of the Emperor, a four-storey stupa was built where the relics were originally found. The Buddha finger, the largest piece of the relics, was kept in a golden vase in the underground palace in the stupa. After the stupa was built, a grand temple called King Asoka Temple, now Fa-mun Temple, was erected next to it. Another 18 stupas were built for the rest of relics in other areas in China.

As clearly recorded in history, the Finger Sarira is so rare that it was welcomed and worshipped by seven emperors in Tang Dynasty, and other emperors in other dynasties. It is certainly the most respected and precious sacred treasure in Buddhism, representing the body of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Because of the Finger Sarira, Fa-mun Temple was regarded as the 'royal' temple in Tang Dynasty. In 1987, The Finger Sarira was revealed in Fa-mun Temple on the birthday of Shakyamuni Buddha. It attracted the attention of the people around the world, who start focusing on Fa-mun Temple again.