Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hill North of Griddhkuta

On the north of Griddhkuta hill is another steep hill that majestically displays a brick stupa from the Ashok era. Referring to Xuanzang’s travelogue for confirmation, we find that this stupa is to mark the spot from where the Buddha beheld Magadha Empire and taught law for seven consecutive days while his subjects listened to him spell bound. In his exact words from the travelogue:

“On the top of the northern mountain is a stupa. From this point tathagata beheld the town of Magadha, and for seven days explained law”. (Book IX, page- 155, Records of western countries- S. Beal)

The above mentioned stupa was vandalized a few weeks ago and the urgency to protect the remains of our heritage has taken a center stage once more.

So, with the reference and the location of the hill it would be logical to conclude that the ancient stupa standing on the northern peak indeed is the monument mentioned as the “Inspiration peak” in the Papata Sutta which in Pali means a steep drop-off; and this hill does have a steep slope towards the Griddhkuta hill. The following are words and interpretation of the Papata Sutta where Buddha talks to the monk about the origin of fright in reference to the steepness of the hill.

Then the Blessed One together with a large number of monks went to Inspiration Peak. One of the monks saw the huge drop-off from Inspiration Peak and, on seeing it, said to the Blessed One, "Wow, what a huge drop-off! What a really huge drop-off is there any drop-off more huge & frightening than this?"

Yes, answered the Buddha, the precipice of ignorance of the nature of Dukkha

It is continuous hike to the top of Inspiration peak on a route taken by the Buddha, a 200mts rugged path from the Griddhkuta. Once you reach the top, the freshness of a gentle cold breeze is an inspiration in itself that sure would last a lifetime. Kings that later followed the Buddha times must have felt a similar inspiration that prompted Buddha to teach an important fact of bodhisattvas practice and they made a massive stupa to mark the place.

Next Post: Jivaka Amravana

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