In search of the Buddha
The Buddha once said that devotees should visit and worship four main
places which would create Dhamma Sanvega. These places are the
birthplace of Prince Siddhartha, the place where the Buddha attained
enlightenment, the place where he delivered the first sermon Dhammacakka
Pavaththana Sutta and the place where he attained Parinibbana.
As a Buddhist I had a dream of visiting these places. But I got the
chance to visit and worship these places only last year. Buddhists must
try to control and discipline their minds and follow the Noble
Eight-fold Path and attain Nibbana. But they should visit these places
in Dambadiva to get Buddhist happiness.
Upon reaching Varanasi airport we got into a bus and went to
Isipathana in Varanasi. We worshipped Sammuka Chethiya, where the Buddha
met the five hermits and Dharmarajika Chethiya where the first sermon
We visited Mulagandha Kuti Temple that was built in the place where
the Buddha spent his first period of vassana. We worshipped that temple
and Dhammika Chethiya at Isipathana Migadaya where the Buddha preached
Anattalakkhana Sutta to the five monks.
We could see a few deer living at Migadaya. Nava Mula Gandha Kuti
temple had been built by Anagarika Dharmapala in 1926. After that we
visited the museum at Varanasi where most of buddhist relics and Ashoka
Kuluna with the figures of four lions, are kept.
In the evening we went to Maha Bodhi temple and participated in the
chanting of Dhamma Chakka Pawaththana Sutra by Bhikkus and lay devotees.
Following day we proceeded to Buddhagaya in the state of Bihar. We
offered milk-rice and lotus, Jasmine flowers at Vajrasana inside the
We observed Ata-sil under the shade of Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. We
listened to Dhamma desana and meditated. The Bo leaves fluttering in the
breeze gave a soothing noise that made us calm.
There were pilgrims of Asian countries such as Thailand, Mianmar,
Tibet, Japan, China and Bhutan paying veneration at Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi.
A few Indian and European devotees were also there. Near the Maha Bodhi
there were many Tibetan Lama Monks chanting suttas.
Next we visited the cave where Hermit Siddhartha spent six years
performing Aththa Kilamathanu yoga. This cave was situated at
Durgeshwari hill and the path is very steep and difficult to climb. Now
some Indians provide 'Dhola' facilities to pilgrims, charging Indian Rs.
These poor Indians beg for soaps, money etc harassing pilgrims.
Near the cave there is a Tibet temple. Inside the cave there is a
statue of Hermit Siddhartha. We visited the place where Sujatha had
offered milk-rice and the place where Soththiya Brahmana had offered
Kusa-thana to the hermit Siddhartha, in Senanigama, by the river
We also visited the places where the Buddha spent the seven weeks
after attaining enlightenment.
Then we proceeded to Rajagaha Nuwara, we saw the stone where the
carts of Vidudhabha stuck. Also we visited the ruins of the jail of king
We climbed Gijjakuta and worshipped the statue of the Buddha. We saw
the stone pushed by Devadaththa and the stone which prevented it's fall
thus saving the Buddha.
We visited Sapthaparni cave where first sangayana was held.
In Kapilawasthu we visited the ruins of the palace of king
Suddhodhana, and the three palaces of Prince Siddhartha, named Ramya,
Suramya and Subha.
We saw the remains of Nalanda, ancient Buddhist university which was
later destroyed by Mogal kings.
We proceeded to Kusinara and we visited Parinibbana temple there.
Inside the temple a reclining statue of the Buddha can be seen. Devotees
offered flowers and covered the statue with robes.
We recited the Buddha's virtues and contemplated on impermanence.
Near this temple there is a pond, where the Buddha had quenched his
thirst before attaining Parinibbana.
We proceeded on our journey to Lumbini grove where Prince Siddhartha
was born. This Sal Uyana is situated in Nepal, about 15 km away from the
boarder with India. We went there by rickshaws.
In Lumbini grove a temple, encircling the sacred birth place has been
built by Japanese Buddhists. Ashoka Kuluna, erected by King Dharmasoka
stands outside the temple.
After that we proceeded to Jethavanaramaya at Shravasthi (Savath
nuwara), where the Buddha had spend about twenty years, with his
disciples. This garden about thirteen acres is maintained well by Indian
In Jethavanaya remains of Sugandakutiya, Rahulakutiya, Seevali kutiya,
Puthigaththa Thissa Kutiya, Angulimala Kutiya and Dam Sabha Mandapaya
can be seen. Anathapindika had built Jethavanaramaya after buying the
land from Prince Jetha.
We observed eight precepts near the Ananda Bhodiya. We listened to
Dhamma deshana and meditated reminiscing Budu guna. In the evening we
lighted about 7,000 wax lamps in Jethavanaramaya and engaged in Sath
Budu Vandanava. At this time we felt very happy and elated while
thinking that we tread on the same ground that Budu Siri Pathul (sacred
feet of Buddha) had touched. I think this is the feeling called
Some devotees covered Ananda Bhodiya with robes, chanting gatha.
Sri Lankaramaya in front of Jethavana is inhabited by Sri Lankan
Bhikkus. We held a Sangika dana at this temple.
In Savasthri we saw the ruins of the palace of Anatha pindika
We proceeded to Sankassa pura, where Ashoka Kuluna with a figure of a
baby elephant is situated. The ruins of Sankassa chetiya built by King
Dharmashoka can be seen near that pillar. This is the place where the
Buddha returned from Thavthisa Devlova after preaching Dhamma to Mathru
The journey in search of the places connected with the life of the
Buddha has ended and we felt very happy. Our pilgrim team agreed that we
must be grateful to Siri Devamiththa Dammapala thera and British
archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham for their role in conservation of
these religious places in Dhambadiva.