Monday, October 3, 2016

Pilgrimage to Worldwide Center of Buddhism

Phillip Lucas; Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly
Under the enlightenment (bodhi) tree as Mara the Tempter attacks to move Siddhartha

On pilgrimage along the Silk Route
This video follows the path of Buddhist pilgrims from around the world as they visit sacred sites [or stand ins for those sites].

These include the birthplace, place of enlightenment, site of the first sermon (sutra), and the place the Buddha chose for his passing into final nirvana.

Although the true locations of these sacred pilgrimage sites are not known, they are presumed after the work of British archeologists to be, first, Lumbini, Nepal, just north of the Indian border (close to Gorakhpur) near his place of the Buddha's passing (Kushinagar), as the site of the Buddha's birth.

The many ancient Buddhist statues and temples of Afghanistan, the Buddha's birthplace.

  • The actual location of Kapilavastu, the Buddha's hometown, one of the three seasonal capitals of Shakya Land (Scythia) where Prince Siddhartha grew up, is far to the west in Bamiyan/Mes Aynak/Kabul, Afghanistan. But for religio-political reasons, it is easier to claim that it is located in neutral Nepal, which has a large unofficially-Buddhist population and a very sympathetic officially-Hindu population. (Although the small landlocked country of Nepal, the economy of which is at the mercy of its massive neighbor India, is Vajrayana Buddhist in practice, it is cited as the only "Hindu nation" in the world, try as it might to reject India's label).
Then there is Bodh Gaya, India, the site of the Buddha's great enlightenment. Next is Sarnath, India, the site of the Buddha's first sermon -- the "Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dharma Discourse" -- to the Five Ascetics.

Then it is onto the Royal City, Rajgir (Rajagriha), India, the site of Vulture's Peak, where the Buddha stayed for many rains retreats and where he delivered several famous discourses.

Next is Vaishali, India, where the Buddha began accepting women as fully-ordained nuns in the Sangha or monastic order. Then it is on to Kushinagar (Kusinara), India, the site of the Buddha's passing into final nirvana and the distribution of his sacred relics (sharira) to eight kingdoms.

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