Friday, June 4, 2010

Xuanzang and Fahein about Griddhkuta

Griddhkuta holds a special place for all devotee of the Buddha no matter which part of world he belongs to. When Xuanzang traveled through treacherous terrains to get to India and while on his way, the king of Turfan asked him the reason why he is must continue his tough journey and taking so much pain to visit India. He replied

"….. To knelt at the Vulture Peak to show respect for Buddha and prostrate on the hill for receiving Buddha’s blessings."

Despite its popularity during the time of the Buddha a little of its glory survived the later centuries. Nine centuries later when Fahein visited the place following in the footsteps of the Buddha and to pay his homage to the Lord of the men, it was a desolate place; surrounded with unruly forest that was filled with wild animals. The path to the Griddhkuta wasn’t straight forward at all and in fact he had to hire two local monks from the newly populated city Rajgriha, who could escort him there. Fahein followed the traditional rituals bought some flowers, oils, lamps and incense to make offerings. Fahein was a devout Buddhist and once he reached the top of the hill, he felt the vibration of the Mahayanist Sutras that the Buddha himself delivered here and lost his much practiced emotional control and broke down. He controlled his feelings and spoke his heart, “Fa Hien, was born when I could not meet the Buddha and now I only see the footprints which he has left and the place where he lived and nothing more.’ With this, in front of the rock cavern, he chanted the Surangama Sutra, staying there overnight and then returned towards the new city”.

Xuanzang arrived Rajgriha two centuries later. On his way to India, when king of Turfan asked him purpose of his visit to India, Xuanzang had expressed his desire to bend his steps to the vulture peak to pay his adorations. And now after eight long years of arduous journey he was finally at the place where the Buddha delivered Lotus Sutra. He has left a detailed account of the place, our present information about the caves around the hill and its significance are based on his detailed description.

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