MahaBodhi Monastery…Enshrinement of Buddha’s Relics, Narsipura, Bangalore

1934474_1711755025736195_5517581432491253895_nThis month begins with my coverage of MahaBodhi Monastery enshrinement of Relics of Lord Buddha and planting of sapling of MahaBodhi Tree. 

Lets begin my offering sacred chanting in Pali to Lord Buddha, The Enlightened One…

10391693_1711755005736197_2586128234093855864_nHomage To The Buddha

Iti pi so Bhagava Araham, Sammasambuddho, 

Vijjacarana sampano, Sugato, Lokavidu

Anuttaro purisadamma sarathi

Sattha devamanussanam Buddho, Bhagavati

The above chant is in Pali. Bhagava Araham means the Exalted One who is entirely free from defilements, teh supreme being who is Enligtened.

Sammasambuddho means Self made Buddha, The Exalted One.

There are three types of Buddha. Sammasambuddho is Supreme Buddha who has the Nibbana experience and removes all the defilement’s.

10399931_1711754962402868_1733764657367138401_nGautam Buddha was the Supreme Buddha ( Sammasambuddho), a person who is born after great deeds after going through cycle of births which prolong billions of billions# of years. Sammasambuddho has the knowledge of the path to liberation and can teach it to others.  #Referred to as Kalpa also Aeons  is a huge period of time generally referred to as the time period between origination and destruction of Universe. Will be covered in detail at a later date.

Second is Pratyekabuddha or Paccekabuddha is also Enlightened i.e. experiences Nibbana and completely eradicates any impurities of mind. But paccekabuddha is not aware how he/she became enlightened and therefore cannot teach anyone the path to liberation.

Arahant also becomes a Buddha but by following the path given by Gautama Buddha i.e. Sammasambuddho. Arahant follows diligently the dhamma propounded by Sammasambuddho and gets liberated.

12795529_1707973609447670_7776861914141496726_nSugato: A well Farer, Lokavidu: A World Knower i.e. of all planes and dimensions in this Universe, Vijjacarana sampano means possessor of three fold knowledge and eight fold knowledge…Perfect in knowledge and conduct, Sattha devamanussanam: teacher of devas, gods and men, Buddho means Buddha The Exalted One, The Enlightened One

“MahaBodhi Society, was founded in 1956 by Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita. The objective of the society is to put into practice and teach the most sacred and pragmatic teachings of the Buddha through spiritual, educational, medical and other services.”

75556_1711754412402923_6723464969541503165_nThe above pic shows newly built stone railings en-route to main monastery.

Source  MahaBodhi Society http://www.mahabodhi.info/

A sapling of MahaBodhi tree was brought from Sri Lanka and planted within the premises  of monastery.

MahaBodhi Society follows Theravada Buddhism tradition also the oldest tradition which follows words of Buddha as mentioned in Pali canon. Theravada Buddhism is prevalent in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand and Laos with a revival in western part of the world especially due to Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi, Venerable Sumedo and Ajahn Brahma (two disciples of Ajahn Chah. Please refer my article on this website on Ajahn Chah to know more)

IMG_20160320_143448_HDRThere are two MahaBodhi Monasteries in Bangalore. The Narsipura branch in Bangalore was recently enshrined by Buddha’s relics and an offshoot of MahaBodhi Tree was also planted. The land for the Narsipura Monastery was gifted by Niskamji, a very senior teacher of Vipassana movement started by Guru Goenkaji. Niskamji along with Sivappaji have played an instrumental role in propagating teachings of Buddha. Both Niskamji and Sivappajof them dedicated their lives in serving mankind and serve as the backbone of Vipassana foundation in Southern part of India. Their legacy is timeless and shall remain eternal.

Pic Niskamji with Bhanteji Anand, who heads Bangalore MahaBodhi Society.

The center is spread out across a huge area, not far from Dhamma Papulla, Vipassana Center on outskirts of Bangalore.  The monastery has living space for monks as well as lay disciples, a monastery, a Pagoda with cells for meditation and a dinning room.

The ceremony was spread on two days with the major day being the enshrinement of Buddha’s relics.

IMG_20160320_115427_HDRA huge platform was built around the Pagoda to take the relics of Buddha on top of the Pagoda for enshrinement. The wooden platform was built so all the monks could personally carry the relics to the top of the Pagoda.

IMG_20160320_111856_HDRThere was all night chanting in the Pagoda while the day began with many lay disciples pouring to the monastery from Bangalore and India. There was a chanting in the main monastery hall as well as offering prayers to Buddha’s relics. Buddha’s relics were distributed among some of the rulers after Buddha took his Parinirvana. Ashoka The Great, one of the greatest rulers ever to rule this world, sent relics around the world and built 82000 stupas (significance here is that Buddha gave 82000 discourses neglecting some discourses given by Sariputta, the chief disciple of Buddha, the other being Moggallāna). Refer to the book The Great Disciple of Buddha  and my article here.

10264775_1711754925736205_6504072283244469757_n

While India forgot both Buddha and Ashoka while other countries preserved Buddha’s teachings. Many relics are from Sri Lanka and there was huge contingent of monks from around the world esp. Sri Lanka.

The proceeding of the day for all began with offering prayers to Buddha and reciting chanting.

IMG_20160320_094214_HDRWe began our article with the wordings of the chanting which are recited here. After the chanting all the monks and some lay disciples carried some articles to the pagoda. I was fortunate to carry some books of Buddha. How appropriate considering I am an educator as well as follower of words of Buddha.

After all the proceedings, relics of Buddha were carried to the top of the Pagoda and enshrined on the top of the pagoda. Everyone got an opportunity to serve food to the monks once the ceremony was over. There was a big Dana sila for all the monks and many volunteers happily served monks food.

There ere many people who attended the ceremony especially many from North East part of India who are settled in Bangalore. The ceremony was spiritually very invigorating for everyone, a great opportunity to meet and serve monks.

12523863_1711781265733571_4547937042094253417_nIMG_20160320_095935_HDRIMG_20160320_143317_HDR

Many volunteers especially monks all night and day to make the event a grand success. They toiled all day and night with compassion and love and with Mindfulness. Its great that Buddha’s teachings are again gaining foothold in India .

10455368_1711781229066908_1287933915127482629_n

Theravada tradition is again back in India and we need to build many monasteries for people who aspire to become monk or follow teachings of Buddha as a monk. India being The Quintessential Capital of Spirituality where Buddha was born (Lumbini where Buddha was born is actually in Nepal while Buddha’s mother MahaMaya was en route to her maternal place to give birth) Buddha all his life spIMG_20160320_114323_HDRent time spreading teachings of Dhamma in India especially around the Ganga belt. Its imperative that India rediscover its roots, teachings of Buddha which are so profound and eternal and lead as an example. There has been a renewed focus in India of Yoga which is very good but we still have a long way ahead. Time has come for India to regain its lost glory as not only the land of Dhamma but also as the land of knowledge, saints and brotherhood…

10455028_1711781199066911_4471905073610126920_nMahaBodhi Society is also into many other humanitarian causes like MahaBodhi Burns Center. They have also established medical care centers for disabled people and educational institute for learning Pali and history of Buddhism.

Refer to my Facebook page Nishworld and Youtube for more videos and pics

To wrap up, Sate of Karnataka (Bangalore as capital) is one of the most spiritual places in India with fantastic people, holistic culture with scenic and culturally historical places like Mysore, Hampi and Gokarna to name a few. (Myself not traveled to all these places) It is one of the best places to be in India although infrastructure needs to be improved  in many places.

Bangalore is a highly cosmopolitan city and technology hub of India, is also the spiritual hub for myself considering the best people I met in India hail from the state. Great place and in my opinion the epicenter of India both in technology and traditional culture …Well Done…