buddhism

श्रावस्ती संस्मरण – भाग १ ( Memories of Sravasti -1)

श्रावस्ती संस्मरण – भाग १ ( Memories of Sravasti -1)

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श्रावस्ती से भगवान्‌ बुद्ध का गहरा रिशता   रहा है । यह तथ्य इसी से प्रकट होता है कि जीवन के उत्तरार्थ के २५ वर्षावास( चार्तुमास ) बुद्ध ने श्रावस्ती मे ही बिताये । बुद्ध वाणी संग्रह त्रिपिटक के अन्तर्गत ८७१ सूत्रों ( धर्म उपदेशॊ )  को भगवान्‌ बुद्ध ने श्रावस्ती प्रवास मे ही दिये थे , जिसमें ८४४ उपदेशों को जेतवन – अनाथपिंडक महाविहार में व २३ सूत्रों को  मिगार माता पूर्वाराम मे उपदेशित किया था । शेष ४ सूत्रों समीप के अन्य स्थानों मे दिये गये थे । भगवान बुद्ध के महान आध्यात्मिक  गौरव का केन्द्र बनी श्रावस्ती का सांस्कृतिक प्रवाह मे भयानक विध्वंसों के बाद वर्तमान मे भी यथावत है ।

इतिहास मे दृष्टि दौडायें तो कई रोचक तथ्य दिखते हैं । प्राचीन काल में यह कौशल देश की दूसरी राजधानी थी। भगवान राम के पुत्र लव ने इसे अपनी राजधानी बनाया था। श्रावस्ती बौद्ध व जैन दोनो का तीर्थ स्थान है।

माना गया है कि श्रावस्ति के स्थान पर आज आधुनिक सहेत महेत ग्राम है जो एक दूसरे से लगभग डेढ़ फर्लांग के अंतर पर स्थित हैं। यह बुद्धकालीन नगर था, जिसके भग्नावशेष उत्तर प्रदेश राज्य के, बहराइच एवं गोंडा जिले की सीमा पर, राप्ती नदी के दक्षिणी किनारे पर फैले हुए हैं।

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Sankaram and Kotturu

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Andhra was a bastion of Buddhism for at least a thousand years. It was a centre of learning and Buddhism spread out to Sri Lanka and South East Asia through its ports. The stupas and monasteries provided the architectural models for the more famous Buddhist shrines in the rest of the world like the famous Borobodur in Indonesia. The Buddhist phase lasted for nearly a thousand years till the rise of Shaivism in the 7th century CE obliterated Buddhism from this region. It is sad that while these places attract visitors from all over the Buddhist world, Indians are not aware of the existence of these places.In this series, I am retracing the footsteps of those distant ancestors of mine.

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Hilltop monasteries on the seaside

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What Jawaharlal Nehru had said about India is equally applicable to my hometown, Visakhapatnam, better known as Vizag. It is a young city with a history that goes back to the prehistoric period. In this series, I shall revisit the footprints left on the sands of time in and around Vizag by the early Buddhists.

I shall start at Thotlakonda, a 130 metre high hillock overlooking the famed beaches of Vizag. The Buddhist settlement was accidentally discovered in 1988 by Naval personnel were carrying out an aerial survey for setting up some facility.

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Timeless in Sanchi

Timeless in Sanchi

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Before the stupa, let’s dwell a little on the township itself (we are after all travelling, not just visiting a place on the tourist map). It’s a small, small place, and if you are here to stay, practically everyone will know that you have arrived before the day is out. At least that’s how it feels. If you have a white skin, you can be sure of it. And yet, unlike many other Indian places, there is no one to hassle you, with postcards to sell or hotel rooms to show. The place itself is almost Buddhist in its quietness.

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