Situated about 10 km north of Fufeng county, and 120 km west of Xian city, Famen Temple is a famous Buddhist temple which holds the genuine relics (finger bone) of Sakyamuni who is the founder of Buddhism. The temple was built in the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25 - 220).
According to the Buddhist scriptures, in 272BC, King Asoka of India distributed relics of Buddha to different places in order to carry forward Buddhist doctrines. All places receiving such relics must build pagodas to enshrine them. Therefore, 84,000 pagodas were built all over the world. There are 19 pagodas in China, and Famen Temple is the largest one of them. Its prosperity began from the Northern Wei Dynasty (386 - 534), and reached the peak in the Sui and Tang dynasties (581 - 907), when it was reputed as an imperial temple. Eight emperors of the Tang Dynasty welcomed several times bone relics of Buddha back to the palace for worship, and awarded a large amount of treasure to the temple, which was stored at its underground palace.
In 1981, heavy rains made the western side of the pagoda collapsed. In 1987, the government decided to rebuild it. A sensational discovery was made by the restoration work. Over 1000 sacrificial objects were found, including stone-tablet Buddhist scriptures, gold and silver wares, pearls, gems and jade wares and lots of valuable silk fabrics. Of course the finger bone of Sakyamuni also found. Saykamuni's finger relics in Famen Temple are the only piece of the Sakyamuni's finger in the world now.
After the discovery, a museum was built to house the collections.