Monday, March 15, 2010

In the footsteps of the Buddha (Rajgir and vicinity)

We start a new episode of discussing Buddhist history in Rajgir and Nalanda, which is an intricate compilation of sutras and the places where they were delivered with due reference to the situations when they were delivered. Since these circumstances were mostly documented by the devout followers of Buddha, they seem to have a condescending tone for the teachings of other religion but it is not our intention to prove the superiority of any religion but to simply state the facts as we found them without any manipulation to make it sound politically or religiously correct. This is no research work but a sincere compilation of previous works. We have tried to in put events and places in some logical sequence so that the Buddhist history of Rajgriha and its interpretation is properly showcased.

What better way to start a spiritual journey in Rajgir and Nalanda than to follow the words of the Buddha in which he described the serenity of Rajgir, these words the last that Buddha spoke while residing at Griddhkuta (Vultures’ peak) (Mahaparinirvana Sutta)

“‘Pleasant, Ananda, is Rājagaha; pleasant is Vultures' Peak. Whosoever, Ananda, has developed. Therefore the Tathagata could, if he so desired, remain throughout a world-period or until the end of it.'

"So also at the Banyan Grove, at Robbers' Cliff, at the Sattapanni Cave on the Vebhara Mountain, at the Black Rock of Isigili, at the Serpents' Pool in the Cool Forest, at the Tapoda Grove, at the Bamboo Grove in the Squirrels' Feeding-ground, at Jīvaka's Mango Grove, and at Small Nook in the Deer Park I spoke to you in the same words, saying: 'Pleasant, Ananda, is Rājagaha, pleasant are these places. Whosoever, Ananda, has developed. Therefore the Tathagata could, if he so desired, remain throughout a world-period or until the end of it.'

‘The History of the Spiritual Journey’ is clearly a path that was taken by other humans and this compilation is nothing but a collective inspiration for all of us. It is the stories that teach us much more than the moral and ethics, they are a way of life and we can live an inspired life even if we are not on a spiritual path.

When you feel the stories beyond the written words, you realize that they are a matrix of people who continued to inspire each other with their thoughts and their work and kept the torch of light moving and now that we feel the light in the written words, we as a society can benefit from it even if we choose not to be the bearers of this torch.

Just like the development of human civilization, we are a collective emergence of the evolution that has been taking place weather we acknowledge it or not. And similarly these stories are the journey that our collective minds have taken weather we know it consciously or not, but these leaders are the ones that dare us to move out of our comfort zone and explore the possibilities…

In the very modern and fast pace world, our basic thoughts about survival are taken care of by well placed systems and rules and technology and frees up our mind to focus on really living our lives yet we find ourselves more and more engrossed in the detail of survival and ignore the opportunity we are blessed with.

In these series of stories and life depiction and places associated with them, we would encourage you to go beyond the written words. It is very surprising that the very thoughts that we neglect as old fashioned or rudimentary and shut them down, are the ones that motivate us to not cling to old beliefs and inspire us to grow into a life of our own.

Next post: Rajagaha (Rajgir)

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