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Places where the Buddha visited

by Rohan L. Jayetilleke

The principal events of the life the Buddha are depicted in the sculptures in bas-relief in situ. These sculptural icons consist of the birth of the Buddha at Lumbini, Enlightenment at Buddha Gaya, discoursing the Dhammacakkapavattana sutta at Saranath, Varanasi, and the final Great Demise (Mahaparinirvana at Kushinagar (Kasi-Kusinara).

The Buddhist establishments at Mathura sustained a severe blow when a number of Viharas and statues were destroyed by the Hunas. The revival of Pauranic Hinduism then led to the slow and steady disappearance of Buddhism from Mathura. The most severe blow was dealt by the Muslim invader in the 11-12 centuries A.D. Mahud of Ghazani of Afghanistan, who ransacked the Viharas, destroyed them and looted the gold and jewels in them and carrying cart loads of them to Afghanistan. The desecration of the Buddhist monuments by these Muslim invaders is nothing surprising, even in the present age of knowledge and technology, the Muslim Talibans of Afghanistan demolished the centuries old Bamiyan Statues of the Buddha by the Islamic Talaiban terrorists, which gave a tongue to the introduction of Buddhism and stabilisation of it by King Asoka (274-237 BC) despatching one of his nine Buddhist mission to Gandhara and Kashmira and its north and western countries including what is now Afghanistan and some central Asian countries under the leadership of Arahant Majjhantika with a group of monks, in the wake of the Third Great Buddhist Council (Sangiti) held under the patronage of King Asoka, chaired by his receptor Upagupta (Maha Moggaliputta Tissa Maha Thera) at Pataliputra (modern Patna capital of Bihar State) in 253 BC.

Mathura had its own tradition of sculpture, beginning from the first century AD, where the local sculptures feature white-spotted sand-stones. Thus Mathura sculptors sculptured images of the Buddha, Bodhisatvas and Buddhist deities. This tradition of sculptures reached its zenith of glory during the Gupta period (647 - 335 AD). In the Mathura sculptures, various Jatakas, the former lives of the Buddha are carved with precise details. The Buddha images in Dhyayanamudra datable to the 2nd century AD have been discovered and are now preserved in the Lucknow Museum.

Some of the colossal images of the Buddha manifest beautiful forms and limbs, portraying the serene peace of mind and infinite compassion and humanity of the Buddha.

These are masterpieces, and a notable example of which is the Statue by Bhikkshu Yasadinna (No. A 5 of the Mathura Museum). In this Yasa Vihara there was an inscribed Buddha image now in deposit at the Lucknow State Museum, a donation by a female lay devotee named in the inscription as Jayabhatta, possibly the wife of a rich Vaishya-setti merchant, as this clan were great benefactors of Buddhism as well as Jainism.

Images of the Buddha and Bodhisatvas of the Gupta period have been found at Jamalpur, Jayasingpur, Katra, Keshadeva, Cabnbara and in other mound excavations and are now in the Mathura Museum. The following images are benchmarks excavated from the mounds of Mathura, namely - (i) Six bases of Buddha Statues of the Regnal years of Indo-Scythian rulers, Huvishka, Kanshika and Vasudeva, (ii) An inscribed image of the Bodhisatva among a Siddhartha of the first century AD and (iii) Nineteen railing pillars with Buddhist base-relief carvings. These require further study by the Indian archaeologists and historians to piece together the lost glory of Mathura. Mathura is accessible by road and rial from Delhi and Agra.

Maithila

Mithila was the capital of the ancient Videha Kingdom. According to Buddhist Pali literature, Mithila was a capital of numerous legendary kings, including Makhadeva and his descendants. The Mahagovinda Sutta says that it was built by the great architect Mahagovinda. The Mahajanaka Jataka story gives a vivid description of this city. The Jatakas testify, Mithila was a famous city. Jataka story testify that Mithila was a famous city from pre-Buddhist times. It was 60 Yojanas away from Champa, the capital of Anga Kingdom/Mithila is now identified with modern Janakapura, a small town in Nepal. The present districts of India Muzzaffarpur and Dharbhanga are its northern frontier districts.

It was at Mithila the Buddha discoursed the Mahadeva Sutta and Brahmayu Sutta, where a brahmin teacher of Mithila Brahmayu embraced Buddha Dhamma. The Videhans of Mithila claimed a portion of the Sacred Relics of the Buddha after the Maha Parinirvana at Kusinara and built a Stupa enshrining them. It is easily accessible to reach Bihar from India but could be accessed by road through northern Bihar.

Saketa

The Saketa city was next in importance only to Sravasti. Saketa was once the capital of the Kingdom of Kosala and recorded as one of the six great cities of ancient India. According to the Commentary on Dhammapada, this city was founded by Visakhas father, Dhannanjaya, a well-known Vaishya-setti Babker, who came from Rajagaha (Rajgriha) at the invitation of King Pasenadi (Prasenjit) of the Kosala Kingdom.

It is also recorded that the city came to be known as Saketa as it was first inhabited in the suspicious hour in the evening. Saketa was in the times of the Buddha seven yojanas from Sravasti. Saketa is now identified with the ruins of Sujankot beside the river Sail in Uttar Pradesh. Buddha did visit Saketa several times.

The merchant Anathapindikas daughter, Cula Subhadda, was married to the son of Kalaka, a banker of Saketa and devotee of the Jainas.

It was at the invitation of Cula Subhadda, the Buddha visited Saketa and preached the Dhamma at Saketa. Kalaka offered his pleasure grove to the Buddha and had Vihara built under the name Kalakarama.

The Buddha also spent a few hours in the forest Anjanavana in the vicinity of Saketa. The Buddha too took up residence at the Kalakarama and preached the Dhamma to the people of Saketa. The nearest air port to Saketa is Lucknow and at could be reached through road transport from Lucknow or Sravasti.

Alavi

Alavi was another Kingdom 30 Yojanas away from Sravasti. It is just next to Kitagiri en route to Rajagaha from Sravasti. The King of Ancient Alavi Kingdom was Alavaka and the natives too were called as Alavaka. Alavi is now identified with Newal or Nawal in Uttar Pradesh, and some historians claim it with Ariwa, 45 km north of Etawah. The latter conjecture appears more credible. Alavi was an important centre of Buddhism during the lifetime of the Buddha, visiting and staying on his long walks from Kagadha to Kosala and other places. In ancient times there was an ancient Stupa and Vihara at Alavi named Aggalava.

In this monastery Buddha had stayed several times and delivered many sermons. It was here that the Buddha formulated Vinaya rules regarding monks digging the earth, cutting trees, using unfiltered water for construction work and other stipulations which sanctioned the monks building their own Aranyas to reside. The Buddha spent 16 rainy seasons at Alavi and preached the Dhamma to 84,000 listeners. It was here that the Alavaka Yaksa and Hatthaka Yaksa (not demons but local rulers) embraced Buddhism. These two constructed several Viharas for the Bhikkhsus.

Alavi could be easily reached from Sravasti, Rajgir and Etawah either by road or rial.

Kosambi was the capital of the Vamsa Kingdom, a city of great importance during the time of the Buddha. The legends and traditions have it that Kosambi or Kaushambi was associated with the Pandava brothers, the heroes of the great epic of India, the Mahabharatha and Arjunas grandson, King Parikshit. The Samyutta Nikaya mentions that the city was situated on a bank of the river Ganga (ganges). While other texts claim it to have been on the banks of the Yamuna river. However, modern historians have identified Kosambik with Kosam on the Yamuna river, about 5 km south-east of Allhabad.

The Buddha visited Kosambi several times and took up residence in the three monasteries, Kukkutarama, the Ghositarama and the Pavarika Mango grow (Ambavana), which were donated to the Buddha by eminent merchants of Kosambi, Kukkuta, Ghosita and Pavarika respectively.

It was in the Ghositarama, a dispute and quarrel arose between two monks, one an expert in discipline and the other a teacher of discourses. This was due to one going to the latrine and leaving some water in a vessel and the question was whether it was an offence.

This led to a dichotomy of views among the monks which resulted in one monk being suspended from the Sangha.

The Buddha when told about this suspension admonished the Monks. If the offender had seen that he had committed an offence, he could be reinstated. (Vinaya Mahavagga 10:5)

Thereafter the Buddha left for Parileyya forest and this withdrawal from the scene of disputes made the disputant monks to make amends and abide by the Vinaya rules and live in amity with one another.

The Buddha spent His sixth and ninth rains retreat in Kosambi. The two Chinese pilgrim Monks Fa-Hien (5th century AD) and Hieun Tsang (7th century AD) in their travel records state that Kosambi was still a centre of Buddhist activity.

Hieun Tsang went to Kosambi from Allhabad (old name Prayag) and had seen ten functioning monasteries. He also had seen the ruins of the Ghostarama and these ruins have now been excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India. A large number of architectural and sculptural remains excavated here testify to the high aesthetic and technical attainment of Kosambi. Kosambi could be reached, by train from Chennai to Alahabad and then by bus to Kosambi.

Campa

Campa was the capital of the large Anga Kingdom of ancient India. Campa was situated on the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Campa was one of the six chief cities during the time of the Buddha (6th century BC).

Campa is now identified with the village of Campanagar or Campapur not very far from Patharghata, where excavation have yielded numerous Buddhist remains and ruins. Campa was a cosmopolitan city inhabited by the followers of diverse religions. Brahmani and Jain teachers as well as the Buddha visited there to preach and teach their respective religions.

It was a great centre of Buddhism during the life time of the Buddha. On various occasions the Buddha visited Campa with a large assembly of his disciples and dwelt in the Ashrama on the bank of the river Gaggara, which derived its name from the Queen Gaggara. It was here the Buddha delivered many important discourses.

In the 5th century AD FA-Hien, the Chinese pilgrim monk visiting India had seen several stupas marking the places where the Buddha resided. however, in the 7th century AD. When Hieun Tsang visited Kosambi the entire place was in ruins. He records that he had only seen 200 monks living in the city.

The Patharghata mentioned above is around 13 km north-east of Colong, a small station on the Burdwan-Mokamah Lopp Railway of the Eastern Railways.

Here too, numerous rock carvings have been found on the Patharghata Hill, once a Buddhist monastery. The most important of the rock carvings is a long row of figures locally known as the Chaurasi Muni or 84 Sages.

Patharghata has been a favourite place exponents of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism and to have friendly is discussions on the themes of their own religions.

Various remains are of Hindu gods and there is also a figure of Bodhisatva Avaloketesvara and a figure of the Buddha testifying to the presence of Buddhism and Hinduism at this place.

Even in Vihara based Dhamma Schools the students are never given a clear insight into the places the Buddha walked in India

The general belief is that he went through the air through psychic powers.

The numerous Buddhist sites in the sub-continent of India to this reader in his annual study tours enable him to estimate the number of miles Buddha walked in His 45 years mission of Dhamma in the following manner.

The Buddha has roughly walked about 10 miles a day, in a month of 30 days for 29 days except the Uposatha Day (Full Moon).

In a year He walked only for 8 months, the 4 months of rains (caturmasa) being spent in one place. Thus the equation is in miles 10 x 29 x 8 x 45. (29 days, 8 months 45 years) which equals to 104,400 miles.

Do Buddhists realise the stupendous task Buddha who was born in the lap of luxury in the Royal family of Kapilavastu (Tilaurakot, Nepal Terai) did this long and tiresome walk in the sweltering heat and biting colds of forested India then.

This writer is certain, even Buddhist pilgrims to India are more lured to shopping for sarees, footwear, bags, necklaces and other trinkets and not conscious of the long walks of the Buddha for the sake of humanity.

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Lankan Buddhist monks to visit Iran

TEHRAN: A seven-member delegation of Sri Lankan Buddhist monks are to visit Iran during the third week of October on a mission to promote dialogue between Buddhism and Islam.

The visit is being arranged by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Tehran in collaboration with the Islamic Cultural Relations Organization (ICRO).

The Sri Lankan Ambassador to Iran and the director of the ICRO Research and Education Department signed a memorandum of understanding on facilitating closer cooperation between the two countries in the exchange of academic information, conducting joint research work and holding seminars and workshops.

The Buddhist monks are scheduled to give lectures on various aspects of Buddhist history, the development of religious ethics in Buddhism, the history of cultural relations between Sri Lanka and Iran, common ideas for world peace and justice in the modern era, and the role of the monk in promoting peaceful coexistence with religious minorities. MNA

නිකිණි අව අටවක

නිකිණි අව අටවක පෝය සැප්තැම්බර් මස 03 වන දා සඳුදා අපරභාග
09.07 ට ලබයි.
4 වන දා අඟහරුවාදා
අපරභාග 07.12 දක්වා
පෝය පවතී.
සිල් සමාදන්වීම සැප්තැම්බර් 04 වන දා අඟහරුවාදාය.
මීළඟ පෝය සැප්තැම්බර්
10 වන දා සඳුදාය.


පොහෝ දින දර්ශනය

Second Quarterඅව අටවක

සැප්තැම්බර් 04

New Moonඅමාවක

සැප්තැම්බර් 10

First Quarterපුර අටවක

සැප්තැම්බර් 19

Full Moonපසෙලාස්වක

සැප්තැම්බර් 26

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