Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 16 February 2014





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Sacred venues linked to Buddha's life

The Buddha discovered the absolute truth of life and delivered this supreme gift of Dhamma. His words of compassion comforted thousands who listened to his Dhamma. Wherever, the Buddha's feet touched the soil of India Buddhism gained ground rapidly. To propagate the Dhamma the Buddha walked through the streets and enlightened millions of his ardent devotees. For 45 long years he accomplished this noble task. Hence the history of Buddhism is said to be back to the time of the living Buddha.

A view of Lumbini

India is the birth place of Buddhism. Not only of Gauthama Buddha, but also all the previous Buddhas were born there. The noblest figure gifted to the world by India. Nearly 25 centuries ago was Gauthama Buddha and the new phase in this Kalpa begins with him.

As the Buddha himself had expressed in Maha Parinibbana Sutta every Buddhist must visit the four main sacred venues linked to the Buddhas life. They are Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Isipatana and Kusinara known to every Buddhist.

Ever since these sanctified places had become the most venerated sites of pilgrimage for devotees from Buddhist countries in the globe. These are places of serenity and sanctify filled with exceptional historic value. Vision of Emperor Asoka led to the restoration of many a sacred venue to honour the Buddha.

Places to worship

Jambuddweepa was blessed with Buddhism in the state of Bihar in the Magadha Empire which reached it's greatest glory under Emperor Asoka. Pataliputra was the capital and the centre of the Mauryan Empire. Most of the sacred venues are located in the states of Bihar and Uttara Pradesh which have become the land of pilgrimage to the Buddhists. To explain full the trend of events from renunciation of Prince Siddhartha, the most appropriate to start with, is Durgeshwari Rock located in Bihar where he underwent severe suffering (Dushkarakkriya) in his quest for spiritual liberation. Where the beginning was made to understand the realities of life.

The site is a hilly, rocky patch of land where are has to make a strenuous effort to visit to respect the great Master. The stone cave utilised for his meditation found in a serene atmosphere is filled with peace and tranquillity reminding pilgrims of the vigorous life faced, presently covered by lush green trees with cool breeze blowing from Senanigama.

Senanigama situated in close proximity to Uruwela one of the important localities occupying a unique place in religious history, with the episode of Princess Sujatha. She was the daughter of a wealthy land owner in Senani who offered milk rice to the Buddha, meditating under the Nuga tree wishing him “Just as my wish had come true your wish too may come true.” While being very grateful to her, he sent the bowl afloat in the river with the firm determination “Let the bowl go upstream if I am to attain Buddha hood” and his wish was fulfilled.

Other than the earlier mentioned four main places, other sites of religious significance found in the holy region of Rajagaha are Gijjakuta Isigili, Vepulla and King Bimbisara's jail then, a little distance away are Sapthaparihani caves and also Vaishali the kingdom of Lichchavis the place where Ratana Sutta was recited by the Buddha to avoid a great disaster – the three fold terror.

Gijjakuta hill top, from where you could get a nice crew of the surrounding farming villages stretching in all directions remind one of the most repulsive figure in Buddhist history widely known, for his enmity with the Buddha. A little beyond is the historic Bimbisara jail the place where he had been jailed by his son Ajasatta and the exact spot where 500 carts had sunk with strong land marks of wheels. Saptaparni cave is where the first Dhamma Sangayana was held to settle the Buddhist cannon three months after Maha Parinibbana. There are also caves said to have been occupied by Theras Moggallana and Ananda. It was also in Rajagaha that you find sacred venues where Buddha had performed twin miracles on various occasions. Nalagiri Damanaya is an outstanding example. These cities – Rajagaha etc. which remain best located in North India standing testimony to the greatness of the Buddha and the royalty still retain there traditional charm and grandeur and serenity due to their maintenance by the State Government of India.


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