Until 10 months ago, Dharma Master YongHua hadn't even seen so much as one of the sacred relics known as shariras that are so important to his faith.

So it came as quite a surprise to the modest, soft-spoken Buddhist monk when he learned he was becoming the caretaker of more than 10,000 of them.

YongHua's modest Lu Mountain Temple east of Los Angeles became a repository for the thousands of colorful crystals, two teeth and a single hair that are believed to have come from the body of the Buddha himself. A congregant offered up the collection that he'd painstakingly gathered for years.

Hundreds from around the country arrived earlier this year when the monks put the relics on display.