Bodhgaya : Buddha under the Bodhi Tree

Bodhgaya is the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in the world. People from all over the world come here to study Buddhism and meditate. It offers temples and monasteries of all Buddhist cultures.
I stayed at Shechen Tibetan monastery, experienced a Zazen session (Zen meditation) at the Japanese temple, attended Tibetan prayers at the Karma temple, went motor-riding in the beautiful countryside of Bihar and relaxed before heading to Delhi.

The Dalai Lama comes here in the summer.

View from his meditation room.

The big Buddha, next to the Japanese temple.

The Japanese temple.

The Bhutanese temple.

The Tibetan temple.

Listen to the Tibetan prayers.

The Thai temple.

Bodhgaya is the city where Prince Siddharta Gautama transformed himself into the enlightened one (the Buddha) under the Bodhi tree.

About 2500 years ago, there ruled in north India King Shuddodhan.
King Shuddodhan had two queens. One night Queen Mahamaya saw in her dream a white elephant with six tusks and a hexagonal bright star. The star had entered in her body.

A son was born to her without any pain. This strange boy immediately after birth moved seven steps. Wherever he placed his step, lotus flowers sprang up from the earth. Queen Mahamaya breathed her last in a few days, the other queen Prajawati brought up the prince.
Even in his infancy Sidharta used to sit in meditation leaving aside his toys. The parents felt worried seeing this condition of the child. On growing up a little, there appeared strange virtues in Prince Sidharta. He did not shoot with his arrows even the deer which came close to him. He would allow it to run away. When his horse panted due to running, he would get down, wipe off the dust, pat lovingly and shower his affection on it.

The Prince married Princess Yashodhara. The King had arranged for the Prince to reside in a big palace. No old man or sick person was to go there. No talk on grief was to be held there which might create a feeling of detachment from the world in the Prince.
Once the Prince expressed his desires to see the city. The King got the city decorated on a grand scale. Prince Sidharta came out to see the city on a chariot. By chance he happened to see an old man moving with the help of a stick. For the second time he went out to see the city disguised as an ordinary merchant. This time he happened to see a sick man with wounds all over his body. The Prince supported him to rise up. On the third occasion when he went out to see the city on a chariot, peoples were seen carrying a dead body. Every one has to face old age and disease. They destroy beauty strength and body. Every one has to die some day or other. This was clear to him by seeing the old, the sick and the dead.

He felt completely detached from the pleasures of the world. From him onward he was seized with the one and the only one idea. How to attain immortality. One night he went out of his house leaving behind his wife Yashodhara and the newly born son, Rahul.

In search of true religion, Prince Sidharta went to several scholars. Finding real knowledge no where the Prince decided to undergo 'Tapasya'. He sat in 'Aasan' under a tree without food and water. Due to austere penance he was reduced to skeleton. One day there appeared in the forest some women dancing and singing. The theme of the song was "Do not stretch the wire of lyre, so tight that it may break nor leave it so loose that no music is produced". Buddha took a lesson from this song that for salvation a proper blending of happiness and misery is the right thing and no austere penance. He gave up penance and adopted the middle course.

He started from there and sat under a Banyan tree. A woman named Sujata had promised to the God of the tree that if she was blessed with a son she would offer rice cooked in milk. Seeing Gautam under the tree hgad appeared in person, she offered the rice cooked in milk.

After eating the rice offered by Sujata, a Brahmin named Swastik gave a kush to him with great respect. Now Gautam spread the kush under the Bodhi tree and sat with determination that he would rise up only after getting enlightenment.
The God of temptations Duratama 'mar' came there with the Fairies and demons. He started his efforts to frighten him and to offer him temptations of different types. But Gautam remained firm and there was not even the least deviation in his meditation. All efforts of 'Mar' proved futile, he returned with his companions completely vanquished. Gautam attained enlightenment. He became 'Buddha'.

Photos taken in the Japanese temple.

1 comment:

kage said...

Delighted by your blog I can feel your strong desire of perseverence with the porpuse of enchant, transcending the receptivity going to the most sacred and secret dimensions reaching the intangible, always with the cosmic tone of presence in the right moment, right place, guided by the power of infinity. Your blog is a portal for a spiritual balance, to the knowledge and admiration of a world where just a few know how to value. Namastê!! Peace and light my love! I'm always with you...