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9/12/2011 :Kapilavatthu (Piprahawa)迦毗罗卫城and SRAVASTI舍卫城--【Purvaram 遗址---佛为外道大显神通处、Jetavana Vihara 祇树给孤独园、須达多长者塔、央鸠利摩罗尊者塔】

Kapilavatthu

Lord, this Kapilavatthu is rich, prosperous, full of people, crowded with men and thickly populated. When I enter Kapilavatthu in the evening after having visited the Lord or the worthy monks, I meet with elephants, horses, chariots, carts and people all swaying and rolling along.

Kapilavatthu was the chief town of the Sakyans and the place where Prince Siddhatta spent the first 30 years of his life.

The Buddha’s first returned to his hometown after his enlightenment was very eventful. He shocked his father by begging in the streets, he preached to large crowds, and many of the Sakyans ordained as monks. Of course not everyone was impressed. Dandapani asked the Buddha to explain his Dhamma, but on hearing it he went away ‘shaking his head, wagging his tongue, with his brow creased into three wrinkles.’

Kapilavatthu was destroyed sometimes before the Buddha’s final Nirvana.

Sravasti

The fair capital of the Kosalans
Excites the mind, charms the eye,
Gives the ear the ten sounds
And provides food enough for all

Of all the events in the Buddha’s life that took place in Savatthi, the most celebrated was the conversion of Angulimala. This robber and murderer had killed so many people that villagers in outlying districts packed they belongings and moved to into the city. From each of his victims, he cut a finger and hung it on string around his neck, hence his name Angulimala, Finger Necklace. When the Buddha heard about this, he set out for the area where Angulimala was known to operate, with the specific purpose of meeting him. On a lonely stretch of road, Angulimala saw the Buddha and began to chase him. But although he ran his fastest he was unable to catch up with the Buddha, who continue to walk at a leisurely pace. In frustration and bewilderment, Angulimala called out to the Buddha: ‘Stop, monk!’ To which the Buddha replied: ‘I have stopped, Angulimala. You should stop.’ Angulimala asked the Buddha what he meant, and the Buddha replied that he had stopped killing and harming beings and that Angulimala should do the same. The murderer threw down his sword, and bowing at the Buddha’s feet, asked to be ordained as a monk. Later Angulimala became enlightened, but even then he had to endure violence and insults at the hands of those who remembered his terrible past.

The Bodhi Tree

According to the commentary on the Jatakas, when people came to Jatavana to pay their respects to the Buddha and found him absent, they would leave their flowers and garland offerings at the door of the Gandhakuti. When Anathapindika heard about this, he asked the Buddha how people could pay their respects to him when he was absent, and the Buddha suggested that it could be done by placing the offerings at a Bodhi Tree.

Accordingly, a seed was brought from the Bodhi Tree at Bodha Gaya and with great ceremony was planted at the Jetavana. The tree came to be known as the Ananda Bodhi Tree. Jetavana was abondaned to the jungle for nearly a thousand years and as there is no archaeological evidence indicationg where the Ananda Bodhi Tree actually stood, the identification of this tree with the original position is doubtful.

The Gandhakuti

The name Gandhakuti refers to a type of structure rather than a particular building. The first permanent residence for the Buddha was built at the Jetavana and because people would come making offerings of flowers, sandalwood and perfume, it was given the name Gandhakuti.

The Sumangalavilasini, the commentary to the Digha Nikay, details the Buddha’s daily routine, and tell us that he would eat and sleep in the Gandhakuti, go forth from there to teach the Dhamma, and in the evening when he needed to stretch his legs, he would walk up and down in front of it.

8/12/2011 :伦比尼 Lumbini --【蓝毗尼圣园, 中华寺、Korea 大圣释迦寺、Vietnam 佛寺、Tibetan佛寺--- Karma Kayju Temple & Drinkung Kayju Temple】

In the village called Lumbini in the Sakyan country, a Bodhisatta has been born, an excellent jewel, without comparison. This is why we are so glad, so excited, so jubilant.

Although he was born here, the Buddha seems to have visited Lumbini on only one other occasion during his life. According to the ancient commentaries, the Devadaha Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya Sutta No. 101) was delivered by the Buddha in Lumbini while on his way from Kapilavatthu to Devadaha.
King Asoka came here on pilgrimage in 250 BCE and marked the place with great stone pillar. A monk from there arrived in China in the 6th centuries and translated several texts into Chinese, and in the 11th century the great philosopher Dharmakirti of Sumatra, one of teachers of Atisa, visited Lumbini while on his pilgrimage through the Middle Land. The last person know of to have visited the place until its rediscovery was King Ripumalla of the Karnamalla kingdom of western Nepal who come to pilgrimage in the early 14th century. After that, Lumbini was lost in the jungle until 1896. The first archaeological work was done here in 1899 and several times since then subsequent work has been carried out.

7/12/2011 Kesariya - 库希纳迦尔 Kushinagar --【涅盘寺、佛陀大般涅盘遗址区、安迦罗塔、双林寺】

Kesariya

The Kalamas of Kesaputta heard, ‘The samana Gotama, a son of he Sakyans, having gone forth from the Sakyan clan, has arrived in Kesaputta.’

It was during a visit to Kesaputta that the Buddha gave one of his most important discourses, the celebrated Kessaputtiya Sutta, popularly known as the Kalama Sutta. Various wandering teachers would come to Kesaputta, expound their own idea and criticize the idea of others. As a result the Kalamas didn’t know whom to believe. The Buddha advised them to reply on their own experience.

‘It is good to doubt, Kalamas. Doubt has arisen in a matter that is doubtful. Do not be led by revelation, by hearsay or by lineage. Do not be led by the sacred scriptures, by logical conjecture or by inference. Do not be led by analogies, by speculation, by probability or because you think, “He is our teacher.” But when yourself know, “These things are skillful, these things are blameless, these things are praised by the wise and when acted upon lead to welfare and happiness,” then follow them.’

Stupa

Even in its ruined state Kesariya’s Stupa is an extremely impressive sight.
Cunningham found it to be 424 meters in circumference and 51 feet high. He wrote, “The excavations have disclosed the walls of a small temple 10 feet square, and the head and shoulders of colossal figure of the Buddha, with the usual crisp curly hair.’ Proper excavations were started in Kesariya only in 1999 and are still not completed. The lower part of the stupa dates from the Gupta period while the upper part and dome was added during the Pala period. The stupa rises in six huge terraces each of a different shape in similar fashion to the Lauriya Nandangaha stupa. Around the sides of each terrace are cells containing life-size statues of the Buddha in the earth-touching gesture.

Kushinagar

Then Ananda said to the Lord: ‘Lord, do not pass away into final Nivana in this wattle-and-daub town, this jungle town, this town in the woods.

As the end drew near, the Buddha gave some last instructions on practical matters, and then reminded those gathered around that they could still practice the Dhamma even though he would not be there to guide them: ‘Ananda, you may think: “The Teacher’s instruction has ceased, now we have no teacher! “But it should not be seen like this. Let the Dhamma and the discipline that I have taught and explained to you be your teacher after my passing.’ Then the Buddha uttered his last words: ‘Now, monks, I say to you, all conditioned things are subjected to decay, strive on with diligence.’ ‘Those who were not yet enlightened wept and cried, saying: “ Too soon has the Lord passed away, too soon has the Happy One passed away, too soon has the Eye of the World closed.”

6/12/2011 :巴特那城PATNA (阿育王古都Patali Putra, 第三次结集处, 此地曾有80支石柱的Mauryan Pillared Hall ; Arogya Vihar等)→ 毘舍离 Vaishali (佛成道5年后所到之处;佛教比丘尼僧团初成立之处;佛灭100年后,第二次结集处;Vaishali 之Kolhua纪念塔遗迹,猴王献蜜供佛处。

Patna

Ananda, no matter how far the Ariya’s realm extends, no matter how far its trade expands or it scatters, its progeny, Pataliputta will be the chief city. But Pataliputta will face three dangers: danger from fire, from floods and from internal dissensions.

As the city’s fortunes changed, those of Buddhism changed too. The Kukkutarama grew from a sylvan park into a large monastic establishment, which was the site of the third Buddhist Council, convened by King Asoka in about 253 BCE.

Shortly after the death of Sariputta and Moggallana, the Buddha gave a talk at Ukkacela in which he expressed the deep respect he had for his two disciples and also his sense of loss at their passing. ‘Truly monks, this assembly seems empty now that Sariputta and Moggallana have passed away.’

Vesali

Now at that time Vasali was rich, prosperous full of people, crowded with men and with food easily available. There were seven thousand seven hundred and seven halls, seven thousand seven hundred and seven gabled houses, seven thousand seven hundred and seven parks, and seven thousand seven hundred and seven lotus ponds.

5/12/12 那烂陀 Nalanda ---【那烂陀大学】

Lord, this Nalanda is rich, prosperous, filled with people, crowded with those devoted to the Lord.

Huien Tsiang tells us that the gatekeeper would put a series of extremely difficult questions to all who wished to gain admission and only those who could answer quickly and accurately would be allowed o enter: ‘One must have studied deeply both old and new books before getting admission. Those students, therefore, who come here as strangers have to show their ability by hard discussion. Seven to eight out of every ten fail.’ Despite these stringent standards, at Huien Tsiang’s time there were 8500 students and 1510 teachers.

Huien Tsiang arrived at Nalanda and settled down to five years of study and teaching (635-640 CE) during which he visited Bodhi Gaya and other parts of India from time to time. His profound learning earned him the respect. He finally announced his intention to return to China. Unable to dissuade him, the monks took him to his teacher, Silabhadra. Huien Tsiang answered eloquently and movingly: ‘This country is the place of the Buddha’s birth; it is impossible not to regard it with affection. Huien Tsiang’s only intention in coming hither was to inquire after the good Dhamma for the benefit of his fellow creatures. Since my arrival here, you, sir, have condescended on my account to explain the Yogacarabhumi Sastra and to investigate doubtful passages. I have visited and worshipped at the sacred places of our religion and heard the expositions of the different schools. My mind has been overjoyed and my visit here has, I protest, been of the utmost profit. I desire now to go back and translate and explain to others what I have heard so as to cause others also to be equally grateful to you, with myself, in hearing and understanding these things; and for this reason I am unwilling to delay my return and remain here.’

Dharmasvamin visited Nalanda, where he studied with the great scholar Rahula Sri Bhadra, who was then ninety yeards old and abbot of the great monastery. But the quiet studious atmosphere of Nalanda was soon to be brutally shattered.

Muslim soldiers had already sacked the monastic university of Odantapuri, one day’s march north of Nalanda, and were now using it as a base for their raids. A disciple of Rahula Sri Bhadra had been detained by the soldiers, but had managed to smuggle a message out to his teacher, warning him that the soldiers planned to attack Nalanda soon. All the students begged the old teacher to flee, and when he refused they themselves fled, leaving only the old teacher and Dharmasvamin. ‘The teacher said: “You, Tibetan, is it not foolish of you to stay with me? All the inhabitants and disciples have fled. If you do not flee also you will be killed.’ Dharmasvamin replied: “I shall not go even if I am to be killed.” The teacher was pleased and said: “You are keep your vow and great is your burden. Now, if I were to be carried by you, would you go? If you go, we could both flee.” So Dharmasvamin took the teacher on his shoulders, and turning round one of the pillars, the teacher said: “We are off! Let us take a small basket of sugar, some rice and our favorite books. We shall not be able to go far. I know how we can save ourselves.”

After burning brightly and shedding its radiance in India for one and a half millennia, the lamp of the Dharma was about to be snuffed out.

Dharmasvamin’s biography is of great interest because it gives us a rare eye-witness account of Buddhism’s tragic end in India.

5/12/2011 : 参访王舍城(Rajgrih)的佛教圣地----Bimbisara Jail, Sone Bhandar宝庫, 竹林精舍遗址、灵鹫山Rajgir

Yes, my good man, this road leads to Rajagaha. Go along it for a while and you will see a village; go further and you will se a market town, go further still and you will see Rajagaha with its delightful parks, its delightful woods, its delightful meadows and its delightful ponds.

It was also at this time that two people who were to become the Buddha’s chief disciples became monks. Moggallana and Sariputta were childhood friends who had became disciple of Sanjaya, one of several wandering teachers who were popular in Rajagaha at that time and who is said to have had 250 disciples. One day Sariputta saw a Buddhist monk on his alms round and asked him about the Dhamma. What he heard impressed him and he repeated it to his friend, Moggallana, who then and there resolved to become a disciple of the Buddha.

It was also in Rajagaha that some of the Buddha’s disciples turned against him towards the end of his life. Devadatta, his proud and ambitions cousin, asked the Buddha to retire so that he could lead the Sangha, a request the Buddha firmly turned down. Humiliated at being rejected, Devadatta plotted murder. A rock was rolled down on the Buddha as he was walking up and down in the shade of the Gijjhakuta, injuring his foot.

Buddha delivered more discourses here than in any other place except Savatthi. Shortly after the Buddha’s final Nirvana, the capital of Magadha was shifted to Patna and Rajagaha went into decline although it remained a center of Buddhism for many centuries.

Bimbisara’s Jail

The large structure, about 60 meters squares, is identified as the place where Bimbisara was imprisoned by his son, Ajatasattu. Bimbisara came to the throne at the age of 15 and ruled for 52 years. Ajatasattu was impatient for power and began plotting to kill his father. Devadatta egged on Ajatasattu to have his father killed. Impatient that Bimbisara was taking too long to die, Ajatasattu had the old king’s veins opened. It is interesting to note that while Bimbisara was imprisoned, the commentaries say that he could see the Buddha on he Gijjhakuta. The pilgrim will note that the Gijjhakuta can indeed be clearly seen on the horizon towards the east.

Jivaka’s Mango Grove

Bimbisara built ‘night and day quarters, cells, huts, pavilions, a Fragrant Hut suitable for the Lord, and surrounded the mango grove with a copper colored wall eighteen cubits high.’ It was the site of one of the most important of the Buddha’s discourses, the Discourse on the Fruits of the Monk’s Life. King Ajatasuttu had his father killed and felt decidedly uneasy, due to guilt and perhaps thought that his own son might one day have him killed, in fact eventually happen. Discovering that the fruits of worldly ambitions could at times be bitter, he came to ask the Buddha what the fruits of the spiritual quest were and the Buddha replied with long discourse describing the complete training of a Buddhist monk.

Gijjhakuta

This is the Gijjhakuta, the Vulture Peak, the Buddha’s favorite retreat in Rajagaha a d the scene for many of his discourses. According to the commentaries, this place got its name because vulture used to perch on some of the peak’s rocks. Climbing the steps that lead to the top pilgrim passes a large cave. This is the Sukarakhata Lena Ithe Boar’s Grotto) where the Buddha delivered two discourses, the Discourse to Long Nails and the Sukarakhata Discourse. It was here too that Sariputta attained enlightenment.

Climbing further, the pilgrim can see the ruins of stupas and the foundations of a small temple built on the summit in ancient times. When Fa Hien came here, he was deeply moved by the atmosphere on the Gijjhakuta. ‘In the new city, Fa Hien bought incense, flowers, oil and lamps and hired two monks, long residents in place, to carry them to the peak. When he himself arrived, he made his offerings with flowers and incense and lit the lamps when the darkness began to come on. He felt melancholy but restrained his tears, and said, “Here the Buddha delivered the Shurangama Sutra. I, Fa Hien, was born when I could not meet the Buddha and now I only see the footprints which he has left and the place where he lived and nothing more.” With this, in front of the rock cavern, he chanted the Shurangama Sutra, remaining there overnight and then returned towards the new city.’

5/12/2011 :当天,参访王舍城(Rajgrih)的佛教圣地----Bimbisara Jail, Sone Bhandar宝庫, 竹林精舍遗址、那烂陀大学Nalanda University、灵鹫山Rajgir (可惜时間不足,沒上”七叶窟”, 第一次结集处).

4/12/2011: 在菩提伽耶(BODH GAYA ) 師父为团员正授八关齋戒,广众法师引领团员参观菩提伽耶各处圣地----金刚大塔、Sujata Temple、尼連禅河、圓觉修學中心(Vietnam temple)、苦行林、摩诃菩提佛寺、广众法师在当地兴办的义校

Then being a quester for the good, searching for the incomparable, matchless path of peace, while walking on tour through Magadha I arrived at Uruvela, the army township. There I saw a beautiful stretch of ground, a lovely woodland grove, a clear flowing river with a beautiful ford with a village nearby for support. And I thought: ‘Indeed, this is a good place for a young man set on striving.’ So I sat down there, thinking: ‘Indeed, this is a good place for striving.’

The Buddha spent the next seven weeks in the vicinity of the Bodhi Tree, experiencing the joy of the enlightenment and contemplating the implications of the truths he had realized, after which he set off for Sarnath. He returned later that year and converted three eminent ascetics who lived in the area, Gaya Kassapa, Nadi Kassapa and Uruvela Kassapa. After that, he set out to proclaim his Dhamma to the world, apparently never to return to Uruvela again.

The Bodhi Tree

At the back of the Mahabodhi Temple is the Bodhi Tree. On the night the Buddha attained enlightenment, he sheltered under the branches of such a tree.
The present Bodhi Tree was planted in the 19th century, several previous trees having died or been destroyed.
Huien Tsiang says that every Vesakha-the full moon of May when the Buddha’s enlightenment was celebrated-thousands of people from all over India would gather at Bodh Gaya and bathe the roots of the tree with scented water and perfumed milk, play music and scatter heaps of flowers.

The Outer Vajirasana

At the foot of the Budhi Tree is the oldest object that can still be viewed at both Bodh Gaya – a large rectangular slab of stone. This stone may have originally been placed over the Vajirasana inside the temple. This outer Vajirasana is 143x238x13.5 cm and made from polished Chunar sandstone. The top is decorated with unusual geometrical designs and there is a palmette and goose was used in ancient Buddhism as a symbol of detachment. The Vajirasana was probably made by king Asoka, and the fact that a similar palmette and goose design is to be found on his pillar capital at Sanchi strengthens this conjecture.

Pragbodhi

In the Maha Saccaka Sutta of Majjhima Nikaya the Buddha gives a vivid description of the terrible austerities he practiced in the six years before his enlightenment, but as to where he stayed during this period he gives no hint. It is very likely that he stayed around Rajagaha and later around Gaya. In Huien Tsiang’s time, tradition said that the Bodhisatta stayed in cave on the side of a mountain called Pragbodhi (“Prior to Enlightenment”) before finally deciding to go to Bodh Gaya and there is no reason to doubt this tradition.
The peaceful environment around Pragbodhi, its wild beauty and the powerful presence that can be felt in the cave, make it well worth a visit.

Note: The information extracted from ‘Middle Land Middle Way’ by Ven. S. Dhammika.

3/12/2011 早上乘船遊瓦拉納西的恆河河畔(VARANASI BOAT RIDE); 从瓦拉納西(VARANASI )乘坐冷气的旅行巴士往菩提伽耶(BODH GAYA ).

Varanasi (Sanskrit: Vārāṇasī) also commonly known as Benares or Banaras, is a city situated on the banks of the River Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, 320 kilometres (199 mi) southeast of state capital Lucknow. It is regarded as a holy city by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and probably the oldest in India.
The Kashi Naresh (Maharaja of Kashi) is the chief cultural patron of Varanasi and an essential part of all religious celebrations. The culture of Varanasi is closely associated with the River Ganges and the river's religious importance. The city has been a cultural and religious centre in North India for several thousand years. The Benares Gharana form of the Indian classical music developed in Varanasi, and many prominent Indian philosophers, poets, writers, and musicians resided or reside in Varanasi. Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath located near Varanasi (Kashi).
People often refer to Varanasi as "the city of temples", "the holy city of India", "the religious capital of India", "the city of lights", and "the city of learning."

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