Pilgrimage to Buddhist India

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  • Lumbini Buddhagaya

    Sarnath Kusinara

    (Pilgrimage to Buddhist India)

    Bhikkhu T. Seelananda

  • (Pilgrimage to Buddhist India)

    Bhikkhu T. Seelananda

  • By Bhikkhu T. Seelananda

    (Pilgrimage to Buddhist India)

    Published by:Samatha-Vipassana Meditation Centre

    2329 Millbourne Road WestEdmonton, Alberta T6K 1H6


    Ven. Bhikkhu T. Seelananda 2010(Abbot, Samatha-Vipassana Meditatin Centre, Canada)

    First Edition -2010

    Printed for free distribution only

    Printed by

    N0. 68 Pirivena Road, Ratmalana, Sri Lanka.Tel: 011 2725853

    US Lanka Printers

    ISBN 978-955-51791-1-9

  • A word for youThis booklet was written for you so you can

    understand the significance of the most sacredBuddhist places in India. It is in these places that theBuddha dwelled and left his footprints 2600 years ago.Thousands of devoted and wise persons in the worldhave venerated these sacred and holy places bytouching the earth with their foreheads, on which theBuddha has trodden.

    In the the Buddharecommended that there are four places to be visited toarouse sober sadness reflecting on the nature ofimpermanence of the places inhabited by the

    A pilgrim with prior knowledge of the placesand times in the life of the Buddha will develop a senseof awe and veneration upon visiting the sacred sites.This booklet was written to evoke these feelings in thepilgrim who will follow the footprints of the Buddha.

    Our first visit is the birthplace of theSublime . It is here, at the Buddha setin motion the Wheel of the which cannot beoverturned by anyone in the world .This Dhamma is always excellent and brings us realpeace, real happiness, the highest Bliss of Nibb na!

    Mah Parinibb na Sutta,


    S rn thDhamma S rn th


  • AcknowledgmentAlthough many booklets have been written in

    Sinhalese for the Sri Lankan pilgrims, there are only a fewavailable for English speaking pilgrims. This is a bookletfor the pilgrims to be used as a handbook during the tour ofBuddhist India in February 2010. We would like to sharethis booklet with our Buddhist or non-Buddhist friends whoare contemplating a pilgrimage in the future as well.

    The purpose of this booklet is mainly to serve as asimple guide during the pilgrimage as well as a source offuture reference. Only the most significant sacred placesduring this pilgrimage are described due to time and spacelimitations.

    In this effort, first I sincerely thank Ms.(Elsa Smart) from Edmonton who sponsored this bookletand the group who accompanied me on this pilgrimagefrom Canada and Sri Lanka for their co-operation andunderstanding. The invitation they extended along withtravel assistance as a gift are indeed meritorious deeds. Thisis my fourth visit to the land of the Buddha.

    Last but not least, I want to thank our tourorganizer, Special mention must bemade of (US Lanka Printers), forhis endeavor to print and put this booklet in your hands soyou can enjoy this wonderful pilgrimage following thefootprints of the Buddha.

    May all beings be well happy and peaceful!

    January 18, 2010. Canada


    Mr. Hector Hapugoda.Upul Kulasingha Malli

    Bhikkhu T. Seelananda

  • This

    Booklet is



    My mother,


    The group of pilgrims


    participated in this pilgrimage

    with me



    Every pilgrim who uses

    this booklet.

    (February 10, 2010 February 23, 2010)


  • Bu



    t P




    e in






  • The Buddha's Utterance on theFour Places of Pilgrimage

    -----------------------"There are four places, that a pious personshould visit and look upon with feelings of reverence,sober sadness What are the four?

    " ere the was born! This, is a

    place that a pious person should visit and look uponwith feelings of reverence.

    " ere the became fully enlightened in

    unsurpassed, supreme Enlightenment! This,is a place that a pious person should visit and look uponwith feelings of reverence.

    " ere the set rolling the unexcelled Wheel

    of the This, , is a place that a piousperson should visit and look upon with feelings ofreverence.

    " ere the passed away into the state of

    Nibb na in which no element of clinging remains!This, , is a place that a pious person shouldvisit and look upon with feelings of reverence.

    "These, are the four places that a pious person



    Tath gata Ananda,

    Tath gata


    Tath gata

    Dhamma! Ananda

    Tath gata








  • should visit and look upon with feelings of reverence.And truly there will come to these places,pious and laymen andlaywomen, reflecting: 'Here the was born!Here the became fully enlightened inunsurpassed, supreme Enlightenment! Here the

    set rolling the unexcelled Wheel of theHere the passed away into the

    state of Nibb na in which no element of clingingremains!'

    "And whoever, should die on such apilgrimage with his heart established in confidence, atthe breaking up of the body, after death, will be rebornin a realm of heavenly happiness."

    Ananda,bhikkhus bhikkhunis,

    Tath gataTath gata

    Tath gataDhamma! Tath gata


    -D.N. Mah Parinibb na Sutta (Sutta N0.16)


  • Great Utterances of the SammSambuddha

    All conditioned things are impermanentWhen one sees this with wisdom,One turns away from suffering,This is the path to purification.

    All conditioned things are unsatisfactoryWhen one sees this with wisdom,One turns away from suffering,This is the path to purification.

    All things are without a soulWhen one sees this with wisdom,One turns away from suffering,This is the path to purification.

    (Sabbe sankh r anicc tiYad pa ya passati

    Atha nibbindati dukkheEsa maggo visuddhiy )

    (Sabbe sankh r dukkh tiYad pa ya passati

    Atha nibbindati dukkheEsa maggo visuddhiy )

    (Sabbe dhamm anatt t

    (Dhammapada Verses: 277-279)

    iYad pa ya passati

    Atha nibbindati dukkheEsa maggo visuddhiy )


  • S rn th, Isipatana-Migad ya

    This is the famous Statue of theBuddha. This unique statue depicts the

    (the posture of the setting of the Wheel of the). It was at this site that the Buddha delivered

    his first sermon on the full moon day of (July),two months after his Awakening. meanssanctuary for deer ( in ). Even today wecan see some deer in this premises.

    This wonderful site is located just 12 km fromthe city of . Even before theadvent of the Buddha to deliver his first sermon, thisplace was called (place for holy men to comedown) because it was the place where the holy men

    S rnathDhammacakka


    EsalaS rnath

    Migad ya P li

    V ranasi (Bar nasi)



  • who had been practicing in the rangesascended and descended. They used to come to thisarea to find their most essential things such as salt andother requisites. This unparalleled place today hasmany things to observe and to understand thesignificance of the site. According to the Scriptures,after the attainment of Enlightenment the Buddhacame to this place seeking his five former companionsnamely

    But when he arrived at the place they did notreadily to accept him at first. However, eventually theycould not remain silent when the Buddha came closerand closer. They then arranged a proper seat, andoffered some water for drinking and for washing hisfeet. The place where the Buddha met them is nowcalled (meeting pagoda) whichhas been misused by Muslim invaders.

    After receiving the Buddha as theircompanion, they then were not yet ready to accept hiswords about his attainment of Enlightenment.However, after a while they accepted him as 'theBuddha' and then the Buddha delivered his MaidenDiscourse, the(The Setting in motion of the Wheel of the )to these five .At the end of the discourse,

    gained the vision of the andbecame a stream enterer but not theothers. This was because of the wrong views they held.They were strong believers of a soul or a permanent

    Him layan

    Kondaa, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mah n ma andAssaji.

    "Sammukha Cetiya"

    Dhammacakkappavattana SuttaDhamma

    Bhikkhus Ven.Kondaa Dhamma

    (sot panna)


  • entity. Thereafter the Buddha had delivered anothersermon named meaning theCharacteristics of Soullessness.

    It was after this sermon that the Buddha spentthe rainy season in this place at

    monastery. Day by day the grewunexpectedly and when the group of became60 the Buddha dispatched them for the disseminationof the

    The Emperor visited in 234BCE. When the Chinese pilgrim monk,visited this place in the 7th century he had found 30monasteries and 3000 monks living here in thesepremises of It was at the end of the 12thcentury that Turkish Muslims sacked this place. Thesite was subsequently plundered for building materialsand has remained in ruins until the present day. Thissite was entirely deserted until 1836 when the Britishbegan excavations and restoration.

    "Anattalakkhana Sutta"

    Mulagandhakutivih ra, Sangha



    Ashoka S rn thHiuen Tsiang,

    S rn th.


  • Things to be seen and venerated

    Dhammekh Stupa

    This is the most significant structure of this siteof Almost all ancient buildings and structuresof this site have been damaged or destroyed by theTurks. However, amongst the ruins the

    is no doubt so impressive, with its 128 feetheight, and 9