‘Place of First Sermon’
Descriptions on ‘Place of Enlightenment’ and ‘Place of First Sermon’
of the Buddha are found in the report of the Chinese Pilgrims: Fa-hian
and Hiouen Thsang. Though in an account, it has been said that some one
hundred and sixty nine pilgrims from China visited the ‘Land of the
Buddha’, only names of Fa-hian and Hiouen Thsang, who visited Buddha’s
birthplace, the place of his death, place of his Enlightenment and First
Sermon, along with many other famous places during that time, could
generate interest among the historians.
In a way, the Report of these two Chinese Pilgrims influenced the
writings on the ancient history of India to a great extent. Even
regional history of some Indian States got much of their contents
enlarged through facts contented in the reports of these two Pilgrims.
Sri Jagannath Temple
There was no escape to other avenues to fix attention for the
scholars who found their sources then much buttressed by Cunningham when
he published his findings of the places visited by Hiouen Thsang and
Fa-hian in his much revered book, the ‘Ancient Geography’. This was
followed by translation of the Chinese Pilgrims Records by Samuel Beal.
The translational work was also endorsed by famous scholars like Julien
, Ferguson and other’s footnotes through a mindboggling presentation.
Thus, the findings of the places during Buddha’s time as reported by the
Chinese Pilgrims were published before the translation of their works.
And this influenced the entire work, and attention of the translator was
thus diverted to such an extent that the real places linked with the
‘Life of the Buddha’ got a serious shift in historical writings of this
When this translational works were undertaken by the Western
scholars, advice from Rhys Davids to scholars not to refer to the Vamsa
literature of Ceylon was deeply frustrating. This was another blunder
for historians of the continent who as a bulk remained away from taking
any interest in these Ceylonese works, baring a very few who again did
not compare the translation of the Pilgrims’ report with that of Vamsa
literatures of Ceylon. Singularly, the Buddhist literature of Ceylon are
most important for reference to any work on Buddha’s life. Once the
relationship between Kalinga and Ceylon is established through contents
of Vamsa literature, a complete biography of the Buddha which the world
is waiting to, will not be a one difficult at all.
Hiouen Thsang’s report differs from that of Fa-hian’s because of
wrong restorations of their works. There were many rivers then that made
journey to the ‘Land of the Buddha’ more difficult. Though little is
known about the time of the journey of the Pilgrims from China to India,
it is surprising that villages in the name of Chinese Pilgrims are
scattered in a particular part of Odisha and now they can be studied to
find out the exact locations where the Buddha left his footprints. The
Olanda or Alanda villages were a beautiful arrangement then to find out
the conglomerations of people from abroad to the ‘Land of the Buddha’ in
the time of no-religion in the world. It is not at all difficult to
locate thus where exactly the ‘Place of Enlightenment’ of the Buddha
A look at the one hundred and sixty villages in Puri Sadar Block
along with names of some selected villages in Satyabadi Block will be
sufficient to remove anyone’s doubt on real and also on important places
relating to ‘Place of Enlightenment’ and ‘Place of First Sermon’ of the
Buddha. All the surrounding villages in these two blocks have stored
enough information to tell about the Buddha directly without any bias or
favour. On ‘Place of Enlightenment’, the Chinese Pilgrim Fa-hian has
reported that the distance between the ‘Place of Enlightenment’ and
‘Place of First Sermon’ was only three and half miles.
Now, Bodhagaya and Saranath are separated by four hundred kms. But
the distance between Sri Jagannath Temple and Bata Mangala is only six
Hiouen Thsang mentions that ‘ to the east of the Bodhi Tree on the
left and right of the great road, there are two stupas…This is the place
where ‘Mara’ tempted the Bodhisattva’. Out of the word ‘Mara’, was
derived the word ‘E-Mara’ and ‘ Emara matha ‘ is the exact location
where the ‘Mara’ attacked the Bodhisattva prior to his attaining
Enlightenment. And this exists to the east of the ‘Simhadwara’, and also
stands on both sides of the great road.
The report of the Pilgrim also writes that ‘ to the east of the pond
which the Saka caused to appear, in the midst of a wood, is the lake of
a Naga King Muchhilinda’. Today the pond which the Saka or Indra caused
is known as Indradyumna Pushakarini, and the lake is the Markandeya
Pushakarini. And the report continues to mention that ‘ to the south of
the tank of the Muchhilinds Naga, is a stupa. This indicates the spot
where Kasyapa went to save the Buddha during an inundation. At present,
the position of the Markandeswar temple indicates that spot.
‘Outside the south gate of the Bodhi Tree is a great tank about seven
hundred paces round. Its water is as clear as mirror. Nagas and fishes
dwell here. The pond was dug by two Brahmins who were uterine brothers,
at the command of Maheswara’, the Pilgrim mentions. And this spot refers
to Lokanath Temple at Puri.
Again, one finds that name of Kundheibenta Sahi has been derived from
Kaundinya, and the other name of Makara Fish as described in Pilgrim’s
report is Mastya Madhava. The most interesting revelation about
Marichikota street and Mausi Maa Temple at Puri also catches one’s eyes
in the Pilgrim’s report. There is a detailed description of the
surroundings of the Bodhi Tree and this well fits in to Sri Mandir
alone. And this description never matches things at Saranath and
Bodhagaya. The other most bewildering thing is that at Puri, one finds
the place of residence of Senani, father of Sujata , the girl who
offered milk-rice to the Buddha just before his Enlightenment. At
present the place is known as Senanimati.
And the place of offering of rice-cakes by Tappasu and Bhaillka which
is known as Rajayatana in Buddhist literature, surprises everybody when
one identifies the place at Revatiramana near Puri. The deities of this
village are nothing but collection of pieces from a broken Ashokan
Pillar. One can easily verify the contents of the Pilgrims records and
things that now still exist at Puri to tell that ‘Sri Jagannatha Temple’
certainly is the place where the Buddha got his Enlightenment and ‘Bata
Mangala’ is the place of his ‘First Sermon’. Village Chakravartipatna
near Bata Mangala has derived its name from ‘Dharmachakrapravartana’,
the other name of the ‘First Sermon’. Village next to it is Alikia and
is the local derivation of ‘Alika’ or wonderful or temporary or
This is the place where the Buddha showered three thousand five
hundred miracles to convert the Jatial brothers. And from here, the drum
of the Dhamma was sounded all over the world. Village Uru is the then
Uruvela and it is at a distance of eighteen km from Bata Mangala.
Names of all the villages around here tremendously justify as the
‘Place of First Sermon’ of the Buddha. Either one refers to Vamsa
literature of Ceylon or the Chinese Pilgrim’s report, both the places
endorse to Sr Jagannath temple and Bata mangala only.
Steve Jobs, a Buddhist?
Steve Jobs stirred the world with his magnanimous creation, Apple.
Its magnanimity lies in simplicity. Jobs was phrased to be the modern
Einstein for his unique innovation. When he passed away his obituary was
posted in the Apple website in grayscale form. Such was his simplicity.
Before reaching the covetous seat of Apple’s CEO, Jobs is said to
have been in a spiritual journey. He had travelled to India to dig more
into Buddhism. How he got the wind of the ancient religion, no mention
Interestingly Jobs is a biographical child of two unmarried academics
who emphasized the adoptive parents should send him to university.
Jobs and his college friend Daniel Kottke, who later worked for him
at Apple, visited Neem Karoli Baba at his Kainchi Ashram. He returned
home to California a Buddhist, complete with a shaved head and
traditional Indian clothing and a philosophy that may have shaped much
of his corporate values.
“I wouldn’t say Steve Jobs was a practicing Buddhist,” said Robert
Thurman, a professor of Buddhist studies at Columbia University, who met
Jobs and his “Tibetan buddies” in the 1980s in San Francisco.
“But he was just as creative and generous and went outside the box in
the way that he looked to Eastern mental discipline and the Zen vision,
which is a compelling one.”
“He was a real explorer and very much to be mourned — and too young
at 56,” said Thurman. “We will remember the design simplicity of his
products. That simplicity is a Zen idea.”
Zen Buddhist monk Kobun Chino Otogawa married Jobs and his now widow,
Laurene Powell Jobs, in 1991.
“We did not pay too much attention to his personal life, but from his
past interviews and speeches, we could see the embedded influences by
the Buddhism,” said Gary Li, secretary of the Buddhist Association of
the United States.
He was a fan of the Beatles, who also embraced spirituality and made
a similar pilgrimage to India. Jobs told television’s “60 Minutes” he
modeled his own business after the rock group.
The name Apple was inspired by the Beatles’ Apple Corps. Like the
Beatles, Jobs went to India to seek spiritual truth. He eventually
converted to Buddhism. Buddhist monk Kobun Chino presided over his
Also, Forbes Magazine is publishing a comic book about Steve Jobs.
The book focuses on Steve’s travels to Japan. The book re-creates the
relationship with his mentor, Kobun Chino Otogawa, a Buddhist priest.
Steve Jobs’ Apple company could be said to have a very Zen-like
attitude toward design with it’s pure lines and minimalist approach to
user-experience. This might not be by accident. Jobs is in fact a
follower of the Buddha.
It all began, as far as we know, in 1974 when Jobs, then 21, asked
for a sabbatical from his employer, Atari, in order to go to India.
After a month visiting gurus, looking for answers, he came back, not
really satisfied with what he had found. For some reasons, he decided
that Thomas Edison had done more for mankind than a lot of Gurus and
When he went back, he started frequenting the Los Altos Zen center,
in Los Altos, California. There, he practiced primal scream therapy.
It is also interesting to note that at the time, he was a fruitarian
and his favorite food was the apple.
“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be
harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to
make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there,
you can move mountains.” Jobs is quoted to have stated.
Steve Jobs channels Buddhist monks from all over the world for this
piece of advice. We barely ever really think about how little time we
have on this planet. That within a blink of an eye everything could be
gone. – SM
Meditation, bliss and beyond
We were discussing about the individuals mentioned by Buddha in
Kilesa Parinibbana Sutta. We discussed about two individuals in detail.
Buddha mentioned about a person who attains Parinibbana in this life
itself who practises Dhamma and meditation with ease. They do not exert
themselves as much as the persons mentioned earlier. The persons
mentioned earlier did not have much comforts. They had to exert a lot.
They have to meditate with a lot of commitment.
The person we are discussing now has comforts. He practises Dhamma
and meditation with ease. Buddha says that he lives after attaining the
first, second, third and fourth Jhanas. Either first or second Jhana. If
not third or fourth Jhanas. He lives after attaining one or all of these
Like the previously mentioned individuals this individual also
remains in these Jhanas and concentrations in association with the Sekha
strengths. When he practises in that manner, Indriya Dhamma spring
strongly in him. Buddha states that such a person after practicing
Dhamma and meditation comfortably attains Parinibbana in this life
Buddha then mentions about another individual who lives after
developing Jhanas and Samadhis. He practises Jhanas and concentration
while associating with the five Sekha Dhamma. But Indriya Dhammas arise
in him not strongly as in the case of the previous person. Therefore he
does not get the opportunity to attain Parinibbana in this life. He will
attain Parinibbana in a subsequent life.
In that manner Buddha has shown us that there are four types of
individuals according to the way they attain Parinibbana. Accordingly
there are several factors we can understand. We must understand them.
Earlier I explained about five meditations. It becomes further clarified
that by practicing those five meditations we have the opportunity to
clear the way to Nibbana. Isn’t it clear that we have an opportunity to
develop the path to Nibbana? It is clear. Even if the path is cleared
can everyone end the Sansaric journey in the same manner? No.
Some people end the Sansaric journey in this life itself. Some people
in the next birth. So we have to understand it. What should we do after
understanding? We should practise these meditations with Saddha. Then
our Sansaric journey will end according to our nature, that is, in the
way the Indriya Dhammas arise.
If Indriya Dhamma arise strongly we will attain Parinibbana in this
life itself. Have you got any confidence about it now? Are you prepared
to accept it? Agree to accept it? Nothing can be done by disagreeing.
Mere acceptance is not sufficient. Having accepted it, it must be
practised as indicated in the Dhamma.
Consider Asubha Bhavana, Ahare Patikkhulata Bhavana, Marana Sati.
Some people consider these as very simple. But they help us to improve
our life up to Parinibbana. That is what I am trying to explain to you.
Many people think that it is easy, simple and small. Having thought so
they look for bigger things. Do you now realize that they are not simple
things? Those are Dhammas that help us to attain Parinibbana.
So what we have to do is to develop confidence in this Dhamma and
proceed without getting into a hurry. The aforesaid first two
individuals practise this Dhamma with great difficulty exerting a lot of
energy. They have few comforts. But the next two individuals have
comforts. Why? Because they have developed the Jhana concentration and
while experiencing its pleasure they practise the Dhamma.
Many people think that they do not have a strong concentration. Many
people sit down to meditate with the determination to develop a Jhana.
They are with such expectations. Are these unnecessary expectations
mentioned in the preachings? No. What we have to do is to practise these
meditations. If one has the fortune he will be able to attain a Jhana
concentration. He gets the opportunity to remain practicing the Samadhi
Can’t we meditate even though we do not have the fortune? Can. Does
it mean that he attains the Parinibbana without the Samadhi? No. Such
people develop Samadhi up to a certain level. The existing Samadhi
improves ultimately. Earlier also there was a certain level of Samadhi.
But they are not fortunate enough to make it strong. Therefore comfort
is less. When they are practicing the path of Dhamma their comforts are
less. But before passing away that Samadhi becomes strong. They take
pains and as a result strong Samadhi develop at the last moment.
Therefore even if we have a small Samadhi, think of continuing the
meditation with due respect and in association with that Samadhi. Do not
worry or get into a hurry thinking “Oh, I don’t have a big Samadhi. I
have no Samadhi”. One may have a certain level of Samadhi. What he has
to do is to continue meditation with great confidence and respect.
The relevant meditation has to be carried out continuously. Many
people give up saying “This meditation does not suit me”. Why do they
give up? They look for strong Samadhi. They do not think of the benefits
Some say “I am practicing the Asubha meditation. But it does not
develop in me. Therefore I am giving it up” Why? The problem is not the
failure to develop the Asubha. He has no strong Samadhi. That is why he
is giving up Asubha. Think carefully why one gives up Asubha after some
time. He does not get a Samadhi as expected by him. That means he is not
practicing the Asubha to get the benefits associated with Asubha. He is
doing so to get a big Samadhi. When he does not get the Samadhi he
abandons the Asubha and starts another.
Therefore we should not meditate with Samadhi as the objective or in
search of Samadhi. We should practise the meditation with the object of
achieving the benefits coming from meditation. By carrying out that
meditation some day we will attain the Samadhi. Meditation should not be
done with Samadhi as the objective. One who meditates looking for
Samadhi gives up the meditation after some time. Why? Because his target
is somewhere else. What he is doing is not practicing meditation. He is
searching for Samadhi.
Therefore whether the Samadhi is strong or weak should not be our
concern. It does not matter even if only a small Samadhi is there. He
treats that Samadhi with respect and carries on the relevant meditation.
Then if some benefit is due to result from that meditation it will be
Now you may have understood that it is possible to attain Parinibbana
in this life itself for an individual who practises these five
meditations based on the fact explained by Buddha if the Indriya Dhamma
become strong. However he is doing so with great suffering. Why? Because
he has no strong concentration. He has no comforts. Nothing can be done
because it is the nature of his merit.
Based on what does this Samadhi Samapatti formed? Based on merit. If
we have performed some merit that merit helps us to acquire strong
Samadhi. Nothing else. That does not mean that we do not have merit. Why
does it not imply that? Because we cannot find it out. What we have to
do is not to inquire into whether we have merit or not. There is no use
in finding out. But we must have confidence in the fact that we have
merit. Based on what? We met worthy friends. We came across the Dhamma.
We could enter this noble life. Based on these factors you may come to
the conclusion that we have merit.
Establish yourself on this conclusion and continue to practise these
Dhammas. While practicing develop confidence in the understanding of
Buddha. We have now come across what Buddha preached. That means there
is merit. We met worthy friends. That means there is merit in us. We
could enter the noble life. That is we have merit.
Keep on practicing thinking “I should not cover up the merit I have.
I must practise with dedication”. Then you will get the relevant results
and benefits. It may not happen in a day or two or in months. Commit
your entire life and practise.
Then you will realize the benefits. Those who practise meditation
should be aware of these facts. If one is not aware and get confused he
may abandon the meditation. Why? He has no idea of the results. No idea
as to what is going to happen. Such people practise for a short while
and give up.
How many times have you given up Asubha meditation? How many times
have you changed the meditation subject thinking “This is not suited for
me?” Isn’t it rarely that you think “I must do it without a break?’ If
you develop a confidence in the Dhamma you will not give up meditation.
You will do it little by little. Therefore develop confidence in this
Dhamma and practise at least the five aforesaid meditations. May the
extremely rare fortune for that dawn on you.
instructions given by Ven Nawalapitiye Ariyawansa Thera)
to discipline the mind
Title: Manasika Shikshanaya Udesa Bauddha Bhavanava saha Venath Lipi
Author: Ven Dr Aluthweva Soratha Thera
Page count: 320
Publisher: Sarasavi Publishers
Ven Aluthvewe Soratha Thera has been writing a number of articles to
various national newspapers and magazines. He has written them on the
invitation of the editors of the respective magazines and newspapers.
Most of the essays are based on timely issues.
The subjects range from the Buddhist teachings, Buddhist literature,
history and social criticism. Each essay contains both social and
personal subjects. Therefore it offers easy reading to both
semi-literature and scholars.
Every topic has its historical, logical Buddhist background. It
offers proper insights for the readers to rethink of certain social
Ven Soratha Thera is the chief incumbent of Kirivehera located in
historical Ruhunu Katharagama.