Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sāriputta World Peace Walk- A new begining in the revival of the Ancient Buddhist Pilgrimage

The Legacy of Sāriputta and Mahā Moggallāna

Sāriputta (also Sāriputra) and Mahā Moggallāna were highly revered by all for their contribution to the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. Buddhist literature mentions that monks and devouts have paid homage to the Parinirvana Stūpa of Sāriputta. One thousand years after his Parinirvana, Fahein visited Sāriputta’s Parinirvana Stūpa. Xuanzang too in 7th century CE, visited the Ashokan Stūpa made to mark the Parinirvana of Sāriputta. Pali literature states that Sāriputta and Mahā Moggallāna were from villages in proximity to Rajgriha (
SA.ii.172). Pali literature also mentions the village, Nālaka (also Nāla, Nālika and Nālagāmaka), where Sāriputta attained Parinirvana (S.v.161; J.i.391; v.125; UdA.322). Fahein corroborates this by mentioning the name of the village, Nala, and Xuanzang mentions the name, Kālapināka. The place mentioned by Fahein and Xuanzang is present around Giriyak Hill. Although not absolutely confirmed by research, the scenic place around the Giriyak Hill was once the hub of Dhamma activities and what better place than this mighty Stūpa on the top of the Giriyak hill overlooking this entire vast surroundings to pay tribute to this great monk, Sāriputta, who was considered as the right hand of Lord Buddha.

The Place (Giriyak Hill)

The Giriyak Hill (25° 01’ 28 N, 85° 30’ 51 E) is the last point (peak) in the east where the Rajgir hill range abruptly ends.

Fig-1-Ancient Brick Stupa

Fig-2 - Huge Stone structure with Brick stupa on the top

View of Panchane river from the top of the Giriyak Peak

Ancient Pillars lying on the hill

An ancient Pillar

Ancient Stone pathway walked by thousands of monks in the Past

Remains of the Stupa structures on the way to the top

Panoramic view of the twin structures

 The Cylindrical stupa (fig-1) is 28ft in diameter and 21ft in height and the stone structure (fig-2) is about 120 Ft  x 120 Ft x 80 Ft with remains of ancient brick stupa at the top of it. The antiquities found at the site suggest this to be a Buddhist site at least 15 centuries old. (ASI, AR Vol-1, p-18, JASB, 1872, P-261). Incidentally this site is in proximity to the Village of the Sāriputta as suggested by Fahein and Xuanzang.  

The greatest contribution of the Buddha is to release to the suffering masses the power of developing “Awareness” in Pali “Sati”. Therefore the main objectives of the “Sāriputta World Peace Walk” is to generate awareness about this beautiful piece of heritage which is lying neglected for centuries and to generate awareness for world peace.

The Event

Department of Buddhist Studies, Nava Nalanda Mahavihara is organizing “Sāriputta World Peace Walk”.  The goal is to send message of peace across the world and to raise awareness among the stakeholder and the wider world about the tangible and intangible Buddhist heritage of Bihar.
On November 23rd, 2010, Ven. Monks and Bhikhu Sangha under the banner of Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee and Nava Nalanda Mahavihara will lead the peace walk procession to commemorate 2497th Anniversary of the Parinirvana of Sāriputta. Grassroots organizations, corporate sponsors, media supporters alike shall join hands to support this important walk.
Participants will gather at the base of Giriyak Hill at 10.30 am, and the gathering will peacefully walk 800 meters to the venue of the chanting and  chant Sammāditthi Sutta.

The Revival of The ancient Buddhist Pilgrimage
Department of Buddhist Studies, Nava Nalanda Mahavihara (NNM) is documenting the ancient Buddhist pilgrimage walked over the last two millennia by monks scholars like Fahein, Xuanzang, Hwui Lun, It-Sing, Dharmaswamin and thousands of followers of the Buddha from various parts of the world. NNM is committed to addressing the most pressing issues related to the revival of this Buddhist pilgrimage, including the revival of the legacy of Sāriputta  and Mahā Moggallāna, the two chief disciples of the Buddha.
Revival of the Ancient Buddhist Pilgrimage involves variety of  issues. The GIS documentation of tangible and intangible Buddhist remains in the vicinity of Nalanda is a considerable component of it and the discussions about the issues pertaining to the Buddhist Pilgrimage with the government officials are underway too. Generating awareness among the stakeholders, particularly among the community of the heritage villages in high on the priority list along with the revival of this ancient pilgrimage which will initiate renewed interests in rituals and traditions. 
We find mention of some rituals that the pilgrims performed and witnessed when they made visit to the places associated with the Buddha. Xuanzang and Fahein have mentioned about what they did when they arrived at the significant places associated with the life and events of the Buddha. With the help of the literature and the knowledge held within the community, the revival of history can not be left much behind and a complete initiative with a multi-directional approach will create the future we wish for...

Sāriputta world peace walk is one of the firsts of such event  where we plan to involve the community in Heritage promotional event.

No comments: