Why Visit Holy Pilgrimages?
(Nov 10, 2012)
My talk on “Why Visit Holy Pilgrimages?”
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Some students and friends will be visiting Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Nalanda and Sarnath. I decided to record the significance of these places for them. Knowing the significance their pilgrimage will be more powerful and meaningful. Lord Buddha Himself recommended we visit the place of His Birth, enlightenment, where He first taught and parinirvana. I had the great fortune to visit these places many times and I truly loved my pilgrimage to these places. I have spent quite alot of time at each place doing prayers and meditations. I highly recommended all Buddhists to visit these places at least once in their lives. I highly recommend those who wish to deepen their cultural experiences to also visit. These places vibrate with peace and powerful blessed energy. I wish a good trip to my friends and all who will visit.
My guru H.E. Kensur Rinpoche and I in front of Bodhgaya’s Mahabodhi temple. The Mahabodhi temple is one of the four holy sites related to the life of Lord Buddha, and particularly to the attainment of Enlightenment. It was built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century B.C.
The holy statue of Shakyamuni Buddha at Bodhgaya. The senior monk on the right is the caretaker and he just helped me to offer fresh robes onto Lord Buddha. I was grateful for his help.
The Bodhi Tree at Bodhgaya under which Lord buddha gained Enlightenment more than 2500 years ago.
The Japanese temple at Bodhgaya. A must visit.
Vulture’s Peak in Rajgir was the Buddha’s favorite retreat and the scene for many of his discourses. According to the commentaries this place got its name because vultures used to perch on some of the peak’s rocks. Vulture’s Peak may be the second holiest place of Buddhism, after the Mahabodhi temple because this is the place where the Buddha spent so much time on retreat, meditating, and teaching so many discourses. The Heart Sutra was also preached here by Avalokitesvara to Shariputra. (source: http://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Vulture_Peak)
This is the Sarnath stupa. Sarnath is the deer park where Lord Buddha first taught the Dharma. Sarnath is located 13 kilometres north-east of Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh, India. After attaining Enlightenment, Lord Buddha travelled to Sarnath and found his five former companions, and Buddha taught them, they understood and as a result they also became enlightened. At that time the Sangha, the community of the enlightened ones, was founded. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarnath)
Nalanda is an ancient center of higher Buddhist learning in Bihar, India from 427 to 1197. Nalanda was established in the 5th century AD. It was devoted to Buddhist studies. Nalanda produced great Buddhist masters like Nagarjuna, Asanga, Atisha etc. (source: http://www.aicte-india.org/downloads/ancient.pdf)
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