One early April morning, 2014, through the Yangon International Airport, Myanmar, I had began my pilgrimage to Bodhgaya, India, which is a sacred place for all Buddhists.
Bodh Gaya is one of the 4 holiest places of Buddhist pilgrimage because Lord Buddha had enlightened there. Others being Lumbini (Birth), Sarnath (first Sermon), and Kushinagar (Mahaprinirvana).
Mahabodhi Temple Complex, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002, is situated in Gaya district, Bihar State, India.
Four Additional Sites: Sravasti • Rajgir, Sankissa • Vaishali
Other Sites: Pataliputra • Gaya • Kosambi, Kapilavastu • Devadaha, Kesariya • Pava, Nalanda • Varanasi
Gaya city have ancient historical and mythological significances.
Surrounded by rocky hills by three sides and the river Phalgu (Niranjara) flowing on the fourth (eastern) side, it is sanctified by Buddhists, Hindus and the Jains.
About 11 km from Gaya city is Bodh Gaya, where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.
Gaya International Airport is situated between Gaya city (7 km) and Bodh Gaya (11 km).
Myanmar Monastery in Bodhgaya, where I stayed is just 15 min convenient walk far to Mahabodhi Temple Complex, passing busy colourful market street
As per Buddhist Jatakas, it is the axis navel of “the Earth” and central point of all sacred energies, since no other place can support the weight of the Buddha’s attainment.
Buddhist mythology claimed that the Bodhi-mand…ala is the first spot to appear when the world emerges into existence. Lotuses will bloom in accordance with the number of Buddhas expected to arise. In our age 5 lotuses were bloomed. According to legend of Lord Gautama Buddha, a Bodhi tree sprang up on the day he was born.
When the world is destroyed at the end of a kalpa, the Bodhi-mandala is the last place to disappear
Mahabodhimanda Vihara “Great Awakening Temple” marking the location where the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. On its western side, is the holy Bodhi tree.
Becoming enlightened Lord Buddha spent total seven weeks (49 days) at seven different spots in the vicinity meditating and considering his experiences.
in 250 BCE Emperor Asoka visited Bodh Gaya to establish a monastery and shrine on the diamond throne (Vajrasana) to mark the exact spot of Lord Buddha’s enlightenment. A pyramidal structure perhaps built i…n about 2nd century A. D. (Kuṣāṇa period). The original structure was completed in 7th century A.D. during the reign of Gupta kings. It underwent several renovations in subsequent period in which the Burmese greatly contributed. Artistic décor are amazingly beautiful.Gold gilded Buddha statue seated in Bhumisparsa Mudra (Earth touching posture) in the sanctum shrine is made of Black stone built by Pala kings of Bengal (8 to 12th A.D.)
Under the sacred Peepal tree (Ficus Religiosa ) Bodhisattva Siddhartha Gautama sitting for meditation with a strong determination (Adhitthâna) that unless and until find out the truth he would not get up. …All efforts of Mara the Evil One and his horrible forces failed in vain to disturb Siddhartha Gautama who finally attained Enlightenment on the full Moon day of Vaisakh Purnima (May).
Lord Buddha spent first week in meditation after attaining Enlightenment here.Vajrasana or the Diamond Throne is the seat of the Buddha’s Enlightenment, made of red sand stone in the 3rd century B.C. by Emperor Asoka. This is the Prime Axis or Navel of the Earth, since all the past Buddhas attained Enlightenment and the future Buddhas too will attain the enlightenment here.
Present Bodhi tree is probably the 5th succession of the original tree which was earlier destroyed several times by man-made misery and natural calamities.
MAHABODHI TEMPLE COMPLEX
Different faces, different colours, different languages from different places come here with only one reason and same intension.
Paying homage to this holy place! To find some peace!
I had been stayed alone in Bodhgaya for 15 days. Visit total 21 times to Mahabodhi Temple Complex, morning, daytime, evening and night. Whole environment is well preserved and maintained as a peaceful, tranquil green garden. Can worship, recite, pray and meditate as you prefer
AN ANCIENT TREE AND IT’S LEAVES
I sit from day to day
Under the shade of an ancient tree with great legacies.
As the season comes
Numerous birds with various colours
Among the branches
Chirping happily and enjoying the fruits.
When a breeze whoosh
Old yellow red leaves fallen like raindrops.
Since the folks take sacred to those leaves
Each passer-by carried away them
To keep as precious mementos.
Suddenly at one day
There are no more old foliage shedding down
I look up and see that all the ramified boughs stripped unclad.
All at once
The tree attired with new shoots and fresh orange-green petals
A white bird come and perched on a branch!
All have to wait a whole year to shed old leaves,
which are today’s new.
April 11th 2014 at Bodhgaya
ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF BODHGAYA
At the entrance veranda of the museum there is a colossal image of standing Buddha in Abhayamudra, which is not allowed to take photograph.
Museum consists of two galleries and an open courtyard as well as two verandas.
First gallery exhibits sculptures including standing Yakshi figure having elaborate coiffure, crowned Buddha in Bhumisparsamudra, Maiterya, images of Buddha in different attitude, standing image of Manjusri, terracotta plaque depicting Buddha in Bhumisparshmudra, copper antimony rod, miniature pot, etc.
In second gallery are exhibited sculptures associated with Buddhist and Brahmanical faith.
Courtyard of the museum contains railing pillars, cross bars and coping stones which were shifted from Mahabodhi temple premises to the museum.
11 Km to South from Gaya city near Neranjara river, Dhurgeshwari (Uruwela) Cave, hidden high on a hilltop in the forest. Here the Lord Buddha when as Ascetic Gautama Siddhartha, exercised utmost pain and suffering on his body in search for the absolute truth for six years.
There was some awakening feeling during my uphill hike to the Cave.
Creeping in through the small entrance into the narrow dark cave, there’s a golden statue of the Buddha in his state of utmost torment. Lamps were lit, giving the cave a glow added to the thrilling sense, that here once our Lord, effort a lots to reach his destination.
Outside, all can delight with the enchanting panoramic views of the surroundings
HUMBLE OTHERWISE IMPORTANT SUPPORTERS
After practicing 6 years of self-torturing and body sufferings, one day Bodhisattva Gautama Siddhartha heard a harmonic sound of a harp, played by music deity Panchashankar, and realized that strings will be cut off when tightened too much and sound cannot create when too much loosened. So that extremism cannot take him to truth.
Left Uruwela, Gautama Siddhartha met Sujata, eldest daughter of the chief herdsman Nanda from a village of Sena near the banks of river Niranjana. Sujata offered milk rice porridge with golden bowl to Gautama Siddhartha which he took and became strengthened.
On the way forward, a humble grass-reaper bestowed 8 handfuls of Kusa Grass, which our Lord scattered underneath the Mahabodhi tree and it became a diamond throne, where our Lord meditated and finally enlightened.
River Niranjana is dried up in summer season as we can see.
A Stupa, Sujata’s Kuti was built to mark the place, once where her House was existed.
Small temples put up each in the places, where the contribution rice-milk porridge and Kusa grass offered.
MULTICULTURALISM OF BUDDHISM IN BODHGAYA
There are several Buddhist temples and monasteries of the different regions by the different people from worldwide, such as of Myanmar (at least 4), Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, China, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc. in a wide area around the Mahabodhi Temple.
Some of which has existed there for more than hundreds of years.
These buildings, statues, temples, monasteries, landscaping and gardens, architectural styles, exterior and interior decorations reflected the culture of respective countries.
MINDON MIN ZAYAT
King Mindon (1808-1878) of Myanmar sent a mission to Bodhgaya in 1874, through the Government of British India to make a very thorough renovation of the Mahabodhi Temple and the Compound, which in that time was in the hand of Hindu Shaivite Giri Mahant. Since 1891, the Sri Lankan Buddhist leader Anagarika Dharmapala started a campaign to return control of the temple to Buddhists, get success in 1949, when management was passed from the Hindu mahant to the Bihar State Government, which established a temple management committee.
Mindon Min also donate a Zayat (public rest house) near Narinjara River for Myanmar pilgrims in that time. Unfortunately, at present it is in the possession of Mahant.