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http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org anto 105 Seṭṭhaganthāyatta Bhāsā
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193 LESSONS 11 03 2011 Nibbana Sutta Total Unbinding 3 FREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY to VOTE for BSP ELEPHANT for Social Transformation and Economic Emancipation to attain Ultimate Bliss
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193 LESSONS  11 03 2011 Nibbana Sutta Total Unbinding 3 FREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY to VOTE for BSP ELEPHANT for Social Transformation and Economic Emancipation to attain Ultimate Bliss

through

http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org


LESSON 193

Course Programs:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.03.than.html

Ud 8.3 

PTS: Ud 80

Nibbana Sutta: Total Unbinding (3)

translated from the Pali by

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

© 1994–2011

Alternate translation: Ireland

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. Now at that time the Blessed One was instructing urging, rousing, and encouraging the monks with Dhamma-talk concerned with Unbinding. The monks — receptive, attentive, focusing their entire awareness, lending ear — listened to the Dhamma.

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

There is, monks, an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated. If there were not that unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, there would not be the case that emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn — unbecome — unmade — unfabricated, emancipation from the born — become — made — fabricated is discerned.


Night long Maha Paritta Chanting is organised at Mahabodhi Society, 14, Kalidasa Road, Gandhinagar Bangalore- 560009 (India) Phone: 91-80-22250684 on 12-03-2011  from 08:00 PM (20:00 hrs.). Please don’t miss this chance. It is the first time here. Please tell others.

Mob:9342175437

Please Visit:

http://wn.com/Paritta_Chanting_by_Maha_Thera_at_Nibbinda_Forest_Monastery

Paritta Chanting By Maha Thera At Nibbinda Forest Monastery

The Significance of Paritta Chanting

Paritta chanting is the recital of some of the Sutras uttered by the Buddha in the Pali language for the blessing and protection of the devotees.

Paritta Chanting or Sutra Chanting is a well-known Buddhist practice conducted all over the world, especially in Theravada Buddhist countries where the Pali language is used for recitals. Many of these are important sutras from the basic teachings of the Buddha which were selected by His disciples. Originally, these sutras were recorded on ola leaves about two thousand years ago. Later, they were compiled into a book known as the ‘Paritta Chanting Book’. The names of the original books from which these sutras were selected are the Anguttara Nikaya, Majjhima Nikaya, Digha Nikaya, Samyutta Nikaya and Kuddaka Nikaya in the Sutra Pitaka.

The sutras that Buddhists recite for protection are known as Paritta Chanting. Here ‘protection’ means shielding ourselves from various forms of evil spirits, misfortune, sickness and influence of the planetary systems as well as instilling confidence in the mind. The vibrant sound of the chanting creates a very pleasing atmosphere in the vicinity. The rhythm of the chanting is also important. One might have noticed that when monks recite these sutras, different intonations are adopted to harmonize with different sutras intended for different quarters. It was found very early during man’s spiritual development that certain rhythms of the human voice could produce significant psychological states of peacefulness and serenity in the minds of ardent listeners. Furthermore, intonation at certain levels would appeal to devas, whilst certain rhythms would created a good influence over lower beings like animals, snakes, or even spirits or ghosts. Therefore, a soothing and correct rhythm is an important aspect of Paritta Chanting.

The use of these rhythms is not confined to Buddhism alone. In every religion, when the followers recite their prayers by using the holy books, they follow certain rhythms. We can observe this when we listen to Quran reading by Muslims and the Veda Mantra Chanting by Hindu priests in the Sanskrit language. Some lovely chanting is also carried out by certain Christian groups, especially the Roman Catholic and Greek orthodox sects.

When the sutras are chanted, three great and powerful forces are activated. These are the forces of the Buddha, Dhamma and the Sangha. Buddhism is the combination of these ‘Three Jewels’ and when invoked together they can bring great blessing to mankind:

The Buddha. He had cultivated all the great virtues, wisdom and enlightenment, developed His spiritual power and gave us His noble Teachings. Even though the physical presence of the Teacher is no more with us, His Teachings have remained for the benefit of mankind. Similarly, the man who discovered electricity is no more with us, yet by using his knowledge, the effect of his wisdom still remains. The illumination that we enjoy today is the result of his wisdom. The scientists who discovered atomic energy are no longer living, but the knowledge to use it remains with us. Likewise the Noble Teachings given us through the Buddha’s wisdom and enlightenment, are a most effective power for people to draw inspiration from. When you remember Him and respect Him, you develop confidence in Him. When you recite or listen to the words uttered by Him, you invoke the power of His blessings.

The Dhamma. It is the power of truth, justice and peace discovered by the Buddha which provides spiritual solace for devotees to maintain peace and happiness. When you develop your compassion, devotion and understanding, this power of the Dhamma protects you and helps you to develop more confidence and strength in your mind. Then your mind itself becomes a very powerful force for your own protection. When it is known that you uphold the Dhamma, people and other beings will respect you. The power of the Dhamma protects you from various kinds of bad influence and evil forces. Those who cannot understand the power of the Dhamma and how to live in accordance with the Dhamma, invariably surrender themselves to all forms of superstitious beliefs and subject themselves to the influence of many kinds of gods, spirits and mystical powers which require them to perform odd rites and rituals. By so doing, they only develop more fear and suspicion born out of ignorance. Large sums of money are spent on such practices and this could be easily avoided if people were to develop their confidence in the Dhamma. Dhamma is also described as ‘nature’ or ‘natural phenomena’ and ‘cosmic law’. Those who have learnt the nature of these forces can protect themselves through the Dhamma. When the mind is calmed through perfect knowledge disturbances cannot create fear in the mind.

The Sangha. It refers to the holy order of monks who have renounced their worldly life for their spiritual development. They are considered as disciples of the Buddha, who have cultivated great virtues to attain sainthood or Arahantahood. We pay respect to the Sangha community as the custodians of the Buddha Sasana or those who had protected and introduced the Dhamma to the world over the last 2,500 years. The services rendered by the Sangha community has guided mankind to lead a righteous and noble life. They are the living link with the Enlightened One who bring His message to us through the recital of the words uttered by Him.

The chanting of sutras for blessing was started during the Buddha’s time. Later, in certain Buddhist countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand and Burma, this practice was developed further by organizing prolonged chanting for one whole night or for several days. With great devotion, devotees participated in the chanting sessions by listening attentively and intelligently. There were some occasions when the Buddha and His disciples chanted sutras to bring spiritual solace to people suffering from epidemics, famines, sickness and other natural disasters. On once occasion, when a child was reported to be affected by some evil influence, the Buddha instructed His monks to recite sutras to give protection to the child from the evil forces.

The blessing service, by way of chanting, was effective. Of course, there were instances when the sutra chanting could not be effective if the victims had committed some strong bad kamma. Nevertheless, certain minor bad kammic effects can be overcome by the vibrant power combined with the great virtues and compassion of those holy people who chant these sutras. Here, the overcoming of a bad kammic effect does not mean the complete eradication of the effect, but only a temporary suspension of such an effect.

Devotees who were tired fatigued have experienced relief and calmness after listening to the chanting of sutras. Such an experience is different from that provided by music because music can create excitement in our mind and pander to our emotions but does not create spiritual devotion and confidence.

For the last 2,500 years, Buddhist devotees have experienced the good effects of sutra chanting. We should try to understand how and why the words uttered by the Buddha for blessing purposes could be so effective even after His passing away. It is mentioned in the Buddha’s teaching that ever since he had the aspiration to become a Buddha during His previous births, He had strongly upheld one particular principle, namely, to abstain from ‘telling lies’. Without abusing or misusing His words, He spoke gently without hurting the feelings of others. The power of Truth has become a source of strength in the words uttered by the Buddha with great compassion. However, the power of the Buddha’s word alone is not enough to secure blessing without the devotion and understanding of the devotees.

The miraculous effect experienced by many people in ridding themselves of their sickness and many other mental disturbances through the medium of the Buddhist sutras, enabled them to develop their faith and confidence in this form of religious service.

-ooOoo-

Awakeness Practices

All 84,000 Khandas As Found in the Pali Suttas



Traditionally the are 84,000 Dharma Doors - 84,000 ways to get Awakeness. Maybe so; certainly the Buddha taught a large number of practices that lead to Awakeness. This web page attempts to catalogue those found in the Pali Suttas (DN, MN, SN, AN, Ud & Sn 1). There are 3 sections:

The discourses of Buddha are divided into 84,000, as to separate addresses. The division includes all that was spoken by Buddha.”I received from Buddha,” said Ananda, “82,000 Khandas, and  from the priests 2000; these are 84,000 Khandas maintained by me.” They are divided into 275,250, as to the stanzas of the original text, and into 361,550, as to the stanzas of the commentary. All the discourses including both those of Buddha and those of the commentator, are divided  into 2,547 banawaras, containing 737,000 stanzas, and 29,368,000 separate letters.

BUDDHA (EDUCATE)!    DHAMMA (MEDITATE)!  SANGHA (ORGANISE)!

WISDOM IS POWER

Awakened One Shows the Path to Attain Eternal Bliss

Using such an instrument

The Free ONLINE e-Nālandā Research and Practice University has been re-organized to function through the following Schools of Learning :

Buddha’s Sangha Practiced His Dhamma Free of cost, hence the Free- e-Nālandā Research and Practice University follows suit

As the Original Nālandā University did not offer any Degree, so also the Free  e-Nālandā Research and Practice University.

The teachings of Buddha are eternal, but even then Buddha did not proclaim them to be infallible. The religion of Buddha has the capacity to change according to times, a quality which no other religion can claim to have…Now what is the basis of Buddhism? If you study carefully, you will see that Buddhism is based on reason. There is an element of flexibility inherent in it, which is not found in any other religion.

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar , Indian scholar, philosopher and architect of Constitution of India, in his writing and speeches

IKAMMA,REBIRTH,AWAKEN-NESS,BUDDHA,THUS COME ONE,DHAMMA II.ARHA ,FOUR HOLY TRUTHS,EIGHTFOLD PATH,TWELVEFOLD CONDITIONED ARISING,BODHISATTVA,PARAMITA,SIX PARAMITAS III.SIX SPIRITUAL POWERS,SIX PATHS OF REBIRTH,TEN DHARMA REALMS,FIVE SKANDHAS,EIGHTEEN REALMS,FIVE MORAL PRECEPTS IV. MEDITATION,MINDFULNESS,FOUR APPLICATIONS OF MINDFULNESS,LOTUS POSTURE,SAMADHI,CHAN SCHOOL,FOUR JHANAS,FOUR FORMLESS REALMS V. FIVE TYPES OF BUDDHIST STUDY AND PRACTICE,MAHAYANA AND HINAYANA COMPARED,PURE LAND,BUDDHA RECITATION,EIGHT CONSCIOUSNESSES,ONE HUNDRED DHARMAS,EMPTINESS VI. DEMON,LINEAGE

with

Level I: Introduction to Buddhism,Level II: Buddhist Studies,

TO ATTAIN

Level III: Stream-Enterer,Level IV: Once – Returner,Level V: Non-Returner,Level VI: Arhat

Jambudvipa, i.e, PraBuddha Bharath scientific thought in

mathematics,astronomy,alchemy,andanatomy

Philosophy and Comparative Religions;Historical Studies;International Relations and Peace Studies;Business Management in relation to Public Policy and Development Studies;Languages and Literature;and Ecology and Environmental Studies

Jambudvipa, i.e, PraBuddha Bharath scientific thought in

Mathematics

Astronomy

Alchemy

And Andanatomy

Buddhist perception of humanity

Buddhism and Information Technology

Buddhist perception of Business Management in Relation to Public Policy and Development and Ecology and Environment

Buddhist perception of Languages and Literature

POLITICS is SACRED with GOOD GOVERNANCE

 

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192 LESSONS 10 03 2011 Nibbana Sutta Total Unbinding 2 FREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY to VOTE for BSP ELEPHANT for Social Transformation and Economic Emancipation to attain Ultimate Bliss-Night long Maha Paritta Chanting is organised at Mahabodhi Society, 14, Kalidasa Road, Gandhinagar Bangalore- 560009 (India) Phone: 91-80-22250684 on 12-03-2011 from 08:00 PM (20:00 hrs.).-The Significance of Paritta Chanting-Somapura: Unique temple in Bangladesh
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 12:42 am

192 LESSONS  10 03 2011 Nibbana Sutta Total Unbinding 2 FREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY to VOTE for BSP ELEPHANT for Social Transformation and Economic Emancipation to attain Ultimate Bliss-Night long Maha Paritta Chanting is organised at Mahabodhi Society, 14, Kalidasa Road, Gandhinagar Bangalore- 560009 (India) Phone: 91-80-22250684 on 12-03-2011  from 08:00 PM (20:00 hrs.). Please don’t miss this chance. It is the first time here. Please tell others-Mob:9342175437-The Significance of Paritta Chanting-Somapura: Unique temple in Bangladesh

through

http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org

Please Visit:

http://wn.com/Paritta_Chanting_by_Maha_Thera_at_Nibbinda_Forest_Monastery

for

Paritta Chanting By Maha Thera At Nibbinda Forest Monastery

The Significance of Paritta Chanting

Paritta chanting is the recital of some of the Sutras uttered by the Buddha in the Pali language for the blessing and protection of the devotees.

Paritta Chanting or Sutra Chanting is a well-known Buddhist practice conducted all over the world, especially in Theravada Buddhist countries where the Pali language is used for recitals. Many of these are important sutras from the basic teachings of the Buddha which were selected by His disciples. Originally, these sutras were recorded on ola leaves about two thousand years ago. Later, they were compiled into a book known as the ‘Paritta Chanting Book’. The names of the original books from which these sutras were selected are the Anguttara Nikaya, Majjhima Nikaya, Digha Nikaya, Samyutta Nikaya and Kuddaka Nikaya in the Sutra Pitaka.

The sutras that Buddhists recite for protection are known as Paritta Chanting. Here ‘protection’ means shielding ourselves from various forms of evil spirits, misfortune, sickness and influence of the planetary systems as well as instilling confidence in the mind. The vibrant sound of the chanting creates a very pleasing atmosphere in the vicinity. The rhythm of the chanting is also important. One might have noticed that when monks recite these sutras, different intonations are adopted to harmonize with different sutras intended for different quarters. It was found very early during man’s spiritual development that certain rhythms of the human voice could produce significant psychological states of peacefulness and serenity in the minds of ardent listeners. Furthermore, intonation at certain levels would appeal to devas, whilst certain rhythms would created a good influence over lower beings like animals, snakes, or even spirits or ghosts. Therefore, a soothing and correct rhythm is an important aspect of Paritta Chanting.

The use of these rhythms is not confined to Buddhism alone. In every religion, when the followers recite their prayers by using the holy books, they follow certain rhythms. We can observe this when we listen to Quran reading by Muslims and the Veda Mantra Chanting by Hindu priests in the Sanskrit language. Some lovely chanting is also carried out by certain Christian groups, especially the Roman Catholic and Greek orthodox sects.

When the sutras are chanted, three great and powerful forces are activated. These are the forces of the Buddha, Dhamma and the Sangha. Buddhism is the combination of these ‘Three Jewels’ and when invoked together they can bring great blessing to mankind:

The Buddha. He had cultivated all the great virtues, wisdom and enlightenment, developed His spiritual power and gave us His noble Teachings. Even though the physical presence of the Teacher is no more with us, His Teachings have remained for the benefit of mankind. Similarly, the man who discovered electricity is no more with us, yet by using his knowledge, the effect of his wisdom still remains. The illumination that we enjoy today is the result of his wisdom. The scientists who discovered atomic energy are no longer living, but the knowledge to use it remains with us. Likewise the Noble Teachings given us through the Buddha’s wisdom and enlightenment, are a most effective power for people to draw inspiration from. When you remember Him and respect Him, you develop confidence in Him. When you recite or listen to the words uttered by Him, you invoke the power of His blessings.

The Dhamma. It is the power of truth, justice and peace discovered by the Buddha which provides spiritual solace for devotees to maintain peace and happiness. When you develop your compassion, devotion and understanding, this power of the Dhamma protects you and helps you to develop more confidence and strength in your mind. Then your mind itself becomes a very powerful force for your own protection. When it is known that you uphold the Dhamma, people and other beings will respect you. The power of the Dhamma protects you from various kinds of bad influence and evil forces. Those who cannot understand the power of the Dhamma and how to live in accordance with the Dhamma, invariably surrender themselves to all forms of superstitious beliefs and subject themselves to the influence of many kinds of gods, spirits and mystical powers which require them to perform odd rites and rituals. By so doing, they only develop more fear and suspicion born out of ignorance. Large sums of money are spent on such practices and this could be easily avoided if people were to develop their confidence in the Dhamma. Dhamma is also described as ‘nature’ or ‘natural phenomena’ and ‘cosmic law’. Those who have learnt the nature of these forces can protect themselves through the Dhamma. When the mind is calmed through perfect knowledge disturbances cannot create fear in the mind.

The Sangha. It refers to the holy order of monks who have renounced their worldly life for their spiritual development. They are considered as disciples of the Buddha, who have cultivated great virtues to attain sainthood or Arahantahood. We pay respect to the Sangha community as the custodians of the Buddha Sasana or those who had protected and introduced the Dhamma to the world over the last 2,500 years. The services rendered by the Sangha community has guided mankind to lead a righteous and noble life. They are the living link with the Enlightened One who bring His message to us through the recital of the words uttered by Him.

The chanting of sutras for blessing was started during the Buddha’s time. Later, in certain Buddhist countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand and Burma, this practice was developed further by organizing prolonged chanting for one whole night or for several days. With great devotion, devotees participated in the chanting sessions by listening attentively and intelligently. There were some occasions when the Buddha and His disciples chanted sutras to bring spiritual solace to people suffering from epidemics, famines, sickness and other natural disasters. On once occasion, when a child was reported to be affected by some evil influence, the Buddha instructed His monks to recite sutras to give protection to the child from the evil forces.

The blessing service, by way of chanting, was effective. Of course, there were instances when the sutra chanting could not be effective if the victims had committed some strong bad kamma. Nevertheless, certain minor bad kammic effects can be overcome by the vibrant power combined with the great virtues and compassion of those holy people who chant these sutras. Here, the overcoming of a bad kammic effect does not mean the complete eradication of the effect, but only a temporary suspension of such an effect.

Devotees who were tired fatigued have experienced relief and calmness after listening to the chanting of sutras. Such an experience is different from that provided by music because music can create excitement in our mind and pander to our emotions but does not create spiritual devotion and confidence.

For the last 2,500 years, Buddhist devotees have experienced the good effects of sutra chanting. We should try to understand how and why the words uttered by the Buddha for blessing purposes could be so effective even after His passing away. It is mentioned in the Buddha’s teaching that ever since he had the aspiration to become a Buddha during His previous births, He had strongly upheld one particular principle, namely, to abstain from ‘telling lies’. Without abusing or misusing His words, He spoke gently without hurting the feelings of others. The power of Truth has become a source of strength in the words uttered by the Buddha with great compassion. However, the power of the Buddha’s word alone is not enough to secure blessing without the devotion and understanding of the devotees.

The miraculous effect experienced by many people in ridding themselves of their sickness and many other mental disturbances through the medium of the Buddhist sutras, enabled them to develop their faith and confidence in this form of religious service.

-ooOoo-

LESSON 192

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.02.than.html

Ud 8.2 

PTS: Ud 80

Nibbana Sutta: Total Unbinding (2)

translated from the Pali by

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

© 1994–2011

Alternate translation: Ireland

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. Now at that time the Blessed One was instructing urging, rousing, and encouraging the monks with Dhamma-talk concerned with Unbinding. The monks — receptive, attentive, focusing their entire awareness, lending ear — listened to the Dhamma.

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

It’s hard to see the unaffected,

for the truth isn’t easily seen.

Craving is pierced

in one who knows;

For one who sees,

there is nothing.

See also: Ud 8.1; Ud 8.3; Ud 8.4.

 Ud 8.3

 Ud 8.4.

SN 12.38

 SN 12.64.

Sn 5.7.

 MN 61

 MN 140;

 

Awakeness Practices

All 84,000 Khandas As Found in the Pali Suttas

Traditionally the are 84,000 Dharma Doors - 84,000 ways to get Awakeness. Maybe so; certainly the Buddha taught a large number of practices that lead to Awakeness. This web page attempts to catalogue those found in the Pali Suttas (DN, MN, SN, AN, Ud & Sn 

1). There are 3 sections:

The discourses of Buddha are divided into 84,000, as to separate addresses. The division includes all that was spoken by Buddha.”I received from Buddha,” said Ananda, “82,000 Khandas, and  from the priests 2000; these are 84,000 Khandas maintained by me.” They are divided into 275,250, as to the stanzas of the original text, and into 361,550, as to the stanzas of the commentary. All the discourses including both those of Buddha and those of the commentator, are divided  into 2,547 banawaras, containing 737,000 stanzas, and 29,368,000 separate letters.

BUDDHA (EDUCATE)!    DHAMMA (MEDITATE)!  SANGHA (ORGANISE)!

WISDOM IS POWER

Awakened One Shows the Path to Attain Eternal Bliss

Using such an instrument

The Free ONLINE e-Nālandā Research and Practice University has been re-organized to function through the following Schools of Learning :

Buddha’s Sangha Practiced His Dhamma Free of cost, hence the Free- e-Nālandā Research and Practice University follows suit

As the Original Nālandā University did not offer any Degree, so also the Free  e-Nālandā Research and Practice University.

The teachings of Buddha are eternal, but even then Buddha did not proclaim them to be infallible. The religion of Buddha has the capacity to change according to times, a quality which no other religion can claim to have…Now what is the basis of Buddhism? If you study carefully, you will see that Buddhism is based on reason. There is an element of flexibility inherent in it, which is not found in any other religion.

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar , Indian scholar, philosopher and architect of Constitution of India, in his writing and speeches

IKAMMA,REBIRTH,AWAKEN-NESS,BUDDHA,THUS COME ONE,DHAMMA II.ARHA ,FOUR HOLY TRUTHS,EIGHTFOLD PATH,TWELVEFOLD CONDITIONED ARISING,BODHISATTVA,PARAMITA,SIX PARAMITAS III.SIX SPIRITUAL POWERS,SIX PATHS OF REBIRTH,TEN DHARMA REALMS,FIVE SKANDHAS,EIGHTEEN REALMS,FIVE MORAL PRECEPTS IV. MEDITATION,MINDFULNESS,FOUR APPLICATIONS OF MINDFULNESS,LOTUS POSTURE,SAMADHI,CHAN SCHOOL,FOUR JHANAS,FOUR FORMLESS REALMS V. FIVE TYPES OF BUDDHIST STUDY AND PRACTICE,MAHAYANA AND HINAYANA COMPARED,PURE LAND,BUDDHA RECITATION,EIGHT CONSCIOUSNESSES,ONE HUNDRED DHARMAS,EMPTINESS VI. DEMON,LINEAGE

with

Level I: Introduction to Buddhism,Level II: Buddhist Studies,

TO ATTAIN

Level III: Stream-Enterer,Level IV: Once – Returner,Level V: Non-Returner,Level VI: Arhat

Jambudvipa, i.e, PraBuddha Bharath scientific thought in

mathematics,astronomy,alchemy,andanatomy

Philosophy and Comparative Religions;Historical Studies;International Relations and Peace Studies;Business Management in relation to Public Policy and Development Studies;Languages and Literature;and Ecology and Environmental Studies

Jambudvipa, i.e, PraBuddha Bharath scientific thought in

Mathematics

Astronomy

Alchemy

And Andanatomy

Buddhist perception of humanity

Buddhism and Information Technology

Buddhist perception of Business Management in Relation to Public Policy and Development and Ecology and Environment

Buddhist perception of Languages and Literature

POLITICS is SACRED with GOOD GOVERNANCE

 

VOICE OF SARVAJAN HONEYLEAKS

 

Somapura: Unique temple in Bangladesh





Excavations reveal the bases of some more structures

Pala Empire was the first independent Buddhist dynasty of Bengal. The name Pala means protector and was used as an ending to the names of all Pala monarchs. Gopala was the first ruler from the dynasty who came to power in 750 AD until 770 AD. This Buddhist dynasty lasted for four centuries and ushered in a period of stability and prosperity in Bengal.

A number of monasteries grew up during the Pala period in Bengal. According to historical sources, five great Maha-viharas stood out: Vikramashila, the premier university of the era; Nalanda, past its prime but still illustrious, Somapura Mahavihara, Odantapura, and Jaggadala.

The five monasteries formed a network; all of them were under state supervision and their existed a system of co-ordination among them. It seems from the evidence that the different seats of Buddhist learning that functioned under the Pala were regarded as an interlinked group of institutions.

It was common for great scholars to move easily from position to position among them.

Somapura

The impressive Somapura Mahavihara was built by Dharmapala (770AD -781AD) and it is regarded as the second largest single Buddhist monastery south of the Himalayas.

The remains of the monastery are now in a peaceful environment. The remains have been hidden under grass and stones for centuries. Because of its location it doesn’t see many visitors and also isn’t widely known. However, any visitor will find it to be quite an impressive site, albeit not up to some “world class” Buddhist ruins such as Borobudur or Anuradhapura. One of its most pleasing aspects is that it is set deep into the Bangladeshi countryside. Getting there is a pleasure in itself as you pass the myriad of rural activities which characterize the Bengali way of life.

The monastery is square in plan, being 281m on each side. Each of its sides has thick exterior wall with two entrance provisions on the north and one in the east. Besides, there has a row of monastic cells, fronted by a running corridor, abutting the exterior wall. The cells were used by the monks for accommodation and meditation.




Remains of the Somapura Vihara

Some of the cells contain solid pedestals. One can also see a worshipping point in the mid-most part of each wing excepting the north one. Each worshipping point, excepting the southern one, has a staircase connection with the monastery courtyard in front. In the center of the open courtyard of the monastery there stands the residual vestige of a four-faced shrine.

The central shrine is a terraced structure springing from a cruciform ground plan and expanding from a mid-pile of square configuration. The upper terrace has in its each side a sanctum fronted by an ante-chamber with a “walk around” passage around. Each of the second and first terraces has nothing but such a passage. The passages of the lower terrace, however, are now covered under recently accumulated soil. Its wall has 63 niches at plinth level, each being provided with a stone sculpture. Whereas the wall surfaces of the lower two terraces are decorated with terracotta plaques showing different scenes. The cornices of all terraces are lavishly relieved with carved bricks showing chain, petal, pyramidal, dental, net and lozenge motifs. Moreover, at the juncture of the cornices there are stone carved human figures ended in grinning lion faces.

The courtyard around the central shrine is dotted with several units of straggling structural ruins. Of them, Panchavedi ( a group of five votive stupas) near the south-eastern comer, a kitchen towards west of Panchavedi, a long paved dinning arrangement towards north-west of Panchavedi and a model of the central shrine on the north of Panchavedi are a few to note. The northeast comer is also occupied by another group of structures; they appear to have been related to office establishments. Close to the basement of the central shrine a number of wells and votive stupas are noticed. The western half of the courtyard is relatively barren.

Salvages

A good number of objects cultural have been salvaged from the site; they include sculptural pieces, terracotta plaques, pottery, domestic tools, ornaments, coins, seals, sealings, votive stupas etc. They are now housed in Bangladesh National Museum, Varendra Museum, Paharpur Museum and other site museums in Bangladesh.

Of these antiquities sculptural pieces as well as sculptured plaques are artistically most alluring. Most of the sculptural pieces are medium in size and a few are smaller. All of them are wrought on stone save a few of metal. Stucco sculptural pieces are, however, not altogether lacking. Among the metal sculptures, the fragmentary bust of a Buddha is worth noted because of its artistic excellence. In dating parlance, they may be placed in the 7th-12th AD time-bracket.

The next group of alluring art objects is represented by terracotta plaques. They are at least 2800 in number and appear to be contemporary to the 1st constructional period of the Pala monastery. Their sizes vary between 40cm x 30cm x 6cm and 18cm square. They depict diverse scenes reflecting the then socio-political, economic and martial aspects.

Heritage site

Somapura was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Since then, a series of UNESCO missions has regularly visited the site and helped with the project. Moreover, the UN body also prepared a master plan, involving 5.6 million dollars.

The various terracotta artworks within the site have suffered from serious damage as a result of lack of proper maintenance, shortage of manpower, fund constraint and heavy rainfall. Furthermore, poor water drainage in the site accompanied by high levels of salinity in the soils has also contributed to decay the terracotta sculptures. Other threats include uncontrolled vegetation, vandalism, climatic conditions, and public trespassing and encroachment.

Somapura Vihara is about 270 km by road from Dhaka and it will take about 6 hours to reach by motor vehicle.

The fact that is the real Somapura is now proven beyond doubt. The excavations and the finding of seals bearing the inscription Shri-Somapure-Shri-Dharmapaladeva-Mahavihariyarya-bhiksu-sangghasya, has confirmed the Somapura Mahavihara as built by the second Pala king Dharmapala. Some clay seals from the ruins bear the inscription Shri-Somapure-Shri-Dharmapaladeva-Mahavihariyarya-bhiksu-sangghasya. Taranatha’s Pag Sam Jon Zang records that the monastery was repaired and renovated during the reign of Mahipala (995—1043 AD)

The Nalanda inscription of Vipulashrimitra records that the monastery was destroyed by fire, during a conquest by the Vanga army in the 11th century, assumed to be an army of the Varman rulers from the Kingdom of Assam. About a century later it was again renovated.

Somapura Mahavihara, covers 27 acres. It was also quite unusual architecturally. As one scholar described, the complex was dominated by a temple, which was not typical, and further, the temple had “none of the characteristic features of Indian temple architecture, but is strongly reminiscent of Buddhist temples of Burma, Java and Cambodia, reproducing the basement, terraced structure with inset chambers and gradually dwindling pyramid form. Possibly, during the period of the Palas some sort of relationship between eastern India and south-east Asia would have existed. Yet, how this temple type, represented in India by this solitary example, became the standard of Buddhist temple architecture is not known.



Real places in Buddha’s life

King Vijaya and Kalinga

The first King of Ceylon, King Vijaya, hailed from Kalinga. He reached there on the day the Buddha died here. King Vijaya was a Sakiyan. Thus, he and the Buddha, shared the same family lineage. And this part of story is found only in Vamsa literatures of Ceylon.

History of Kalinga is completely silent about this. History of Kalinga as it is written and read in classrooms of today’s Odisha, never takes the name of King Vijaya who in reality migrated from there to Ceylon. Kalinga and Ceylon thus share a common bond in origin of their history, but the Vamsa literatures has nowhere taken the name of Kalinga in most of their writings, even though the name of places mentioned in them has their roots in Kalinga.

A great fissure thus has taken place dividing the two nations to drift away from each other to unknown shores of history.

Megha’s attack on Ceylon

The unfortunate situation in relation between these two countries arose after Megha’s attack on Ceylon in 1215 AD. The attack came at a time when the Island was under the grip of a serious famine.

And the people were not in a position to withstand this war which was meant only to get the Alms Bowl and relics of the Buddha back from there to Kalinga. These two nations have fought many wars in history just to take possession of these two valuables treasures. But history of Kalinga has no records of all these things.

Even the name of Megha one will never find in the history books of Kalinga. This missing is very interesting. But Vamsa literatures have kept this name as a usurper from Kalinga. Also he is described as a follower of Kulasekhar, another most interesting name found in pages of Ceylon’s history.

From King Vijay of 6th BC to Megha of 12th AD, the journey of Kalinga and Ceylon is as amazing as the journey of Alms Bowl of Buddha from Kalinga to Ceylon and back, and Journey of the sapling of Bodhi Tree from here to there with inauguration of Maha Thupa at Anuradhapur makes an astounding story of migration of a whole country unforgettable in history of human civilization.

The scholars have not gone deep into this part of historical journey of these two countries, and whose revelation will show exactly the places where the Buddha was born, died got Enlightenment and delivered his ‘First Sermon’. When history of the two countries is opened to the world, then certainly no doubt will be there as regards to all those places which are linked with the Buddha’s life, any more.

Common kings

A reader of Odishan history will find no mention of any king’s name during Kalinga war. Asoka killed a lot of people, imprisoned an equal number of people, and wounded more than the combined figure of these two. But King’s name is not there to see anywhere. So, some historians have opined that Kalinga at that time was a Republic. But the fact is that the Kalinga had a king, and he was residing in Ceylon at the time of Kalinga war.

He was Devanampiya Tissa, who was converted to Buddhism after coming in contact with Asoka. This part of history if it is revealed properly will lead the two countries to share the names of their common kings and this is not at all a difficult subject as Vamsa literatures have enough information on them.

A student of Odishan history also knows that the history of Odisha has a dark period starting from Asoka to 2nd AD. This pained the historians, but they could not go beyond the Kalinga’s geographical boundary to know more on it. The theory that Kalinga’s kings were really residing in the Island did not occur to them. This is one of the main reasons why Asoka raised a war and got hold of the ‘Place of the Enlightenment’ and ‘Place of the First Sermon’ of the Buddha. As Vamsa literatures inform, first he tried to root out the Bodhi Tree, but miserably failed to do so, and more he cut the Bodhi Tree, more off shoots from it began to rise lively. His failure and astonishment, both made him a follower of the Buddha.

If one looks at Vamsa literatures, the name of some of the kings one finds like this, starting from king Vijaya : Pandu Vasudeva(444-414 BC), Buddha Dasa (409-362 BC), Pandu Abhaya(347-307 BC),Devanampiya Tissa(247-207 BC),Utiya(207-197 BC),Sura Tissa(187-177 BC), Sena(177-155 BC),Asela(155-145 BC),Dutthagamini(101-77 BC),Thula Thera (85-59 BC),Sadha Tissa(77-59 BC),Lanja Tissa(59-50 BC), Khalita Naga(50-43 BC),Vattagamini Abhaya(29-17 BC),Coranga(3 BC-9 AD). Of course, there is certain period in history where name of a ruling king has not been mentioned.

Enough devastating wars have been fought between the quarreling kings, not only for thrones alone, but for possession of the Alms Bowl of the Buddha and his relics. But interesting point is that nowhere one finds the name of Kalinga where many wars were fought by the Ceylonese kings on its battle grounds.

The name of the battle grounds given in Vamsa literatures are alone found in Kalinga, and there are villages here that are named after the kings whose names are found to have been mentioned in the history books of Ceylon.

Kings of Ceylon appointed their generals in Kalinga who looked after their sister kingdom here. And wars were generally fought by them to protect the interests of the Ceylonese kings here.

For an example, name of three Gadajata Kingdoms of Odisha can be cited here: Kujanga, Kanika and Bhitarakanika. These are three important royal kingdoms of Odisha. If one looks at Ceylonese history, one finds name of Kanitthatissa who was king of Ceylon during 246 to 248 AD. His son was Kunjanaga who slew his elder brother Khujanga. When Ekanalika famine broke out in Ceylon, perhaps, they were forced to leave that country, and migrated to settle in Kalinga.

The Lambakanas also migrated from a village which is now known as Lambuapada. I have attempted to show many such villages to entangle the history of both the countries in a film project that may drive the scholars to look at the places with renewed interest.

Ariyakkhattayodha

The Ariyakkhattayodha are called mercenary soldiers who were deposed by kings of Ceylon to preserve the Dhaama and the throne in their country. But little does the history know about the country of the origin of these soldiers. From Kalinga these mercenary soldiers were sent to Ceylon, and interestingly, they were picked up from some selected villages which are now known as Arilo villages in Odisha. There are six such villages here, and are also not far away from each other. Thakurka who was the leader of the Ariyakkhattayodha has also a village named after him. It is now known as Thakurpatna.

Buddha’s alms bowl

The journey of Buddha’s Alms Bowl from Kalinga to Ceylon has triggered many conflicting moments between these two countries. Why the wars were fought among kings of Ceylon and Kalinga, and not between kings of any other country must intrigue scholars to know more about the history of Buddhism.

There is no doubt that purpose of the Pilgrims from China was to visit the Land of the Buddha or the Madhyadesha. Fa-hien spent six years in the Land of the Buddha and then returned to China via Simhala or the Country of the Lions. He has written that a former king of this country sent an embassy to Madhyadesha to procure a ship for the Pei-to Tree or the Bodhi Tree to get it transported to Ceylon.

It is thus important to note here that no other country outside India is involved in this process except Kalinga whose maritime history alone played a vital role in this direction. So, there is little doubt that Kalinga was the Land of the Buddha or a part of the then Madhyadesha. Fa-hien has put the distance from Tamralipti to Simhal at 700 yojanas . Fa-hien stayed for two years in Ceylon.

But Hiouen Thsang states a different distance from Mo-la-ya mountain to Simhala and he puts it as 3000li . The report of Hiouen Thsang says that from U-Cha or Udra one can see the country of Simhala. Story of a Simhala king who could not see his face in the mirror has been beautifully described by the Pilgrim. The king built a Vihara on a mountain in his country to see the figure of Avalokiteswar in Magadha every day. So Magadha of Hiouen Thsang certainly was on the sea shore.

One finds most important information on Simhala in Hiouen Thsang’s report. A Mahabodhi Sangharama was built by a Simhalaraja outside the northern gate of the wall of the Bodhi Tree. It is safely therefore can be said that Ceylon has had the correct information on the exact location of the places that were linked with the Budddha’s life and time. And there is no need to refer to such places which have been complicated in the translational works of Beal along with notes from Cunningham.

The Chinese Pilgrim’s report can be verified on the basis of Vamsa literatures not vice versa. What the Vamsa literatures have not taken into its accounts are the Viharas and stupas built by Asoka for identification of places which once were important in the life of the Buddha. Those identification marks of Asokan pillars and stupas much of which were lost due to vandalism and onset of rulers of a different hue are now no more visible, thus, not suitable for further study.

Hiuen Thsang ‘s report has given another beautiful account of a letter written by Chinese King Chheng Tsu to a Ceylonese king, under the direction of Chhing Ho. At that time King of Ceylon was Alibunar. This is one point which can be verified only from Vamsa literatures why the Pilgrims did not handover that letter to any king but kept it for a long period with them, and when Hiouen Thsang did not go to Ceylon where exactly he gave that letter is not known. But a simple answer would be that the King of Ceylon was certainly staying somewhere in Kalinga as mentioned before.

Relationship of Kalinga and Ceylon

A different dimension still exists to evaluate the historic relationship between Ceylon and Kalinga. And this relationship which is based on mutual transfer of monks from one country to another really carries much of the truth of that relationship, and it has preserved the profound notes of their strong social and philosophical bond through it .

The list of monks and nuns which the Vamsa literatures have kept in them shows a tradition, and it is part of a cultural march of an identity of the people who have moved through literatures of their relationship with the Buddha and this one never comes across in other cultural spectrum of the world.

But from where this spectrum began the journey of its colour is difficult to answer. It is neither an exclusive journey nor an isolated wind trip. It was only through its relationship with Kalinga that the text of its journey even though it was rough and tumulus, was purposefully succeeded to write about the bigness of its small size. From which country did the story of the Buddha come to Ceylon? How Vamsa Gathas got their story contents ? And what was the source of it? All such questions have one and only one answer , and it was Kalinga that provided all materials for Vamsa literatures, and as both the counties were having one cultural entity in the time of the Buddha, there was no distinction between the history of one of these two nations from the other, so name of all the places which have found a place in those Ceylonese chronicles have their real origin in Kalinga. And alternatively, this has the potentiality to prove that Kalinga was the part of the Madhyadesha or the Land of the Buddha.

No other country has such magnificent carpentry on Buddha’s thoughts, works and glory as the Island country has! This did not come to it on a borrowed scale or for that matter it did not come to it without its significant involvement in history of the Buddha.

The country has fought wars many do not know only for Alms Bowl and relics of the Buddha. But what is that country which lent this Island country an extensive helping hand to accomplish its purpose in history of the Buddha. And again the answer is Kalinga, and it was this country alone that was at the centre of the world marine history as well at the centre of the world trade.

This is what the Vamsa literatures have written about. And some scholars have miserably failed to take notice of it. Cunningham and Beal no doubt, have succumbed to this abortive deficiency in history, and unknowingly, they committed a mistake which was accepted by the world with renewed vigor as discovery of the history of the Buddha was necessary to measure the journey of human wisdom, its appearances as well as its disappearances.

This subject and its canvass are so vast in length and breadth-wise that it needs everyone’s attempt to find out what the truth really is. An effort at this end must begin from this Island country. Because it has in its womb the seeds of that greatness, and it is the only country in the world in whose history the Buddha lives in perfectness of its legendary wisdom

 

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