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Four Other Sacred Places PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr U Than Sein   
Saturday, 22 December 2007

Original Four Sacred Places

"Ananda, there are four places the sight of which will arouse strong emotion in those with faith - Which are they?  "Here the Tathagata was born" this is the first. "Here the Tathagata attained the supreme enlightenment" – this is the second. "Here the Tathagata set in motion the Wheel of the Dhamma" – this is the third. "Here the Tathagata attained final Nirvana without remainder" – this is the fourth.  And the monk, the nun, the layman or the laywoman who has faith should visit these places. And anyone who dies while making a pilgrimage to these shrines with a devoted heart will, at the breaking up of the body at death, be reborn in heaven."                                                                    Mahaparinibbhana Sutta 

Four usual sacred places for Buddhist Pilgrims visited at Majjhimadesa (Middle-Land of Buddha Places) are those directly associated with Gotama Buddha, as mentioned above, i.e.,

(1)  Lumbini: the birth place of Gotama Siddhartha at Lumbini, Nepal; (2)  Bodh Gaya: the place for attainment of enlightenment by Gotama Buddha at Buddha Gaya (Bodh Gaya) in Bihar, India (Mahabodhi ceti and Mahabodhi Tree and related places); (3) Migadawon: the place where the first sermon, "Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta", commonly known as "The Great Discourse Setting in Motion on the Wheel of Dhamma", to his five old friends - Kondanna (Kondajja), Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama and Assaji, at the deer park, Migadawon/Isipatana, near Varanasi (Kashi), Uttar Pradesh (UP) State, India; and (4)   Kushinagar: the place where  Gotama Buddha entering Maha Parinibbana at Kushinagar, UP State, India. 

Other Four Sacred Places Four other places that are associated with the previous and present Buddhas and also linked with the great miracles performed by Gotama Buddha are: (a)Sravasti (Savatthi): where Gotama Buddha took his seat on a thousand petalled lotus and created multiple representations of himself and the conversion of Angulimala, the robber and murderer, who killed so many people, and also a place where not only Gotama Buddha but also all previous Buddhas and future Buddhas have to stay for the longest years of retreats. Sravasti in modern day is called Saheth-Maheth, near Balrampur in Sravasti District, abut 134 km north-west of Lucknow, the capital of UP State in India. The Jetavana Park where Buddha had spent longest years of his life had been maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). There are two oldest Myanmar Buddhist Viharas, one (called as Daw Dwe Zayat) is no more used by Myanmar pilgrims, and another one being inside in the archaeological sites have been agreed to keep as it was as a guest house and maintained by Myanmar monk. A new Myanmar Buddhist Vihara has been constructed in 2006. (b)Sankisa (Sankasya): where Gotama Buddha, after spending the seventh retreat and preached the Dhamma (Abhidhamma) to his mother and other gods at Tusita (Tushita), descended to earth accompanied by the Brahma and Indra. It is about 300 km south-east of New Delhi, and about 30 km east from Bewa Town on Delhi-Kanpur Road, in UP State, India. There is a ruined stupa with Ashoka’s pillar which has an elephant on top. A newly constructed Myanmar Buddhist Vihara is situated about 5 km from the stupa maintained now by the ASI. (c)Rajagriha (Rajgir): the capital of King Bimbisara where Gotama Buddha spent second longest retreats (over 10 times), and also tamed the wild and mad elephant. Present day Rajgir was a small town with many ruins maintained by the ASI. One of the oldest Myanmar Buddhist Vihara (established in 1936) was situated in side main city compound of Rajgir. (d)Vesali (Vaishali): a capital of Lichchhavi, one of the first republican states in the world, where a monkey offered honey to Gotama Buddha, and also a place where the Lord accepted the Bikkhunis. Vesali is about 60 km north of Patna, present day capital of Bihar State, India. Myanmar Buddhist Vihara at Vesali is partially built. Pilgrims can stop over and having lunch/snacks at the Vihara, on their way from Patna to Kushinagar.   These eight places are described as Atthamahathanani or eight incidents of Buddha Life as shown on one of the stone slabs in the National Museum in Sarnath.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 December 2007 )
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