Friday, April 16, 2010

Offering of Veluvana to the Buddha and his sangha

The day after Bimbisara’s legendary reception for the Buddha, he invited the blessed one for a meal at his palace. The Buddha honored the king with his presence and towards the end of that day the king suggested a place for the refuge of the Buddha and his Sangha. Veluvana, the king’s favorite garden seemed like an ideal place, its ideal distance from the dense habitation, "not too far from the town, not too near, suitable for accessing and easy commute for all, not much crowded during the day and not exposed to noise and clamor at night, bereft from materialistic activities and peaceful for secluded mediation” to be devoted to spiritual practices.

Bimbisara welcomed the whole sangha with generous donations of alms and asked the Buddha to accept for the Sangha his favorite pleasure garden the Kalandakanivapa bamboo grove. This was the very first piece of land accepted by the Buddha for refuge and were later termed ārāma. It is mentioned in Pali commentaries after this incidence it was widely accepted to devote lands for monks for such ārāma. (Vin.i.39f)

The ceremony of acceptance of Veluvana for refuge by the Buddha was commenced by the king pouring water over the palm of Buddha and when that blessed water fell on the earth, the earth shuddered with its sacredness, this is mentioned in Pali commentaries (19; cf. ApA.i.75). It is said that it was the first and only ārāma in Jambudipa, where earth expressed its gratitude to be serving under the Buddha’s feet when it trembled during the dedication ceremony.

Veluvana was a serene place surrounded by bamboos (velu) and hence the name. A wall was built at its perimeter to keep the wild from invading into the meditation grounds; the eighteen cubits high wall held towers at proper intervals and had a gateway for entrance (SNA.ii.419; Sp.iii.576).

Read more about its location

Next Post: Sariputra's meeting with Asvajit

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