A Total Buddhist Experience

Posted in China , India , Japan , Nepal , Thailand | October 1, 2010

Asia was the birthplace of Buddhism, and the c0ntinent has numerous places that are significant from the point of view of association with origination, expansion, spiritual leaders and places of worship. The countries of India, Nepal, China, Japan, Thailand and several others have a veritable wealth in the way of places with Buddhist significance. The sheer number and variety of temples, pagodas, monasteries, retreats which stand out on many points including the distinguishing style of architecture, ornate statues and delightful gardens.

The precepts that make up Buddhism as a religion comprises of a variety of customs, traditions, rituals, practices and beliefs, and Lord Buddha ( the awakened one ) was responsible for codifying most of these.

Even if you are not Buddhist, in fact it is not at all necessary to be Buddhist to visit these destinations, a visit to these locations will surely be one unparalleled in spiritual and metaphysical experiences. A basic understanding of what embodies the great religion that is Buddhism will leave you enriched at the very least. When the spirit is fed, all else pales before the joy and peace experienced.

The following are the main destinations that are preferred for from a pilgrimage point of view. These locations either have a connection with Lord Buddha or Buddhist spiritual leaders, or are vital and notable, due to their significant places among Buddhist places of worship.

1 Bodhgaya Nalanda, India

Bodhgaya can be called the most noteworthy place connected to Buddhism if looked at from the point that it is the very spot where Lord Buddha is said to have attained bodhi, or enlightenment. White sitting in meditation under a peepul tree ( Sacred Fig / Ficus religiosa ), Lord Buddha became the awakened one, and achieved a state where he wholly transformed from his previous state into a state of enlightenment. The Bodi Vriksha, or the Bodhi Tree is sacred to Buddhists.

Apart from the holy Bodhi tree, the Mahabodhi Temple is another significant monument in Bodhgaya. The Maha bodhi temple, which was used to memorialize the great enlightenment, is among the most ancient brick structures in entire eastern India. A huge gold statue of Buddha can be seen here.

2 Mount Koya, Kii Peninsula, Japan

Japan has numerous places of Buddhist worship, and perhaps the most notable among these is Koya – san which is a sacred mountain which has numerous temples. Koya-san is significant, as it is connected with Kukai / Kobo Daishi, who was responsible for Shingon Buddhism.

Quite a lot of temple are there in Koya San, and visitors are welcome to stay the night. Guests can participat in the morning or evening meditation gatherings, and this is open to all faiths. To reach Koya San Mountain, you can catch a train from Osaka, and you will reach Koya San in about two hours.

3 Bangkok, Thailand

The city of Bangkok has some of the most spectacular locations connected to Buddhism. The huge temples are noted for their ornate design. The splendid Buddhist temples house some of the largest statues of Lord Buddha that can be found anywhere in the world. Golden Buddha which is at Wat Trimitr dates back to more than 900 years from now, and solid gold has been used to create this magnificent statue. One more sizeable Buddha statue can be found Wat po, which is the most ancient temple in Bangkok, as well as the largest in size.

Wat Benjamaborpitr is another heavenly temple made out of pristine white marble.

4 Lama Tibetan Temple, Beijing, China

The splendid Lama Tibetan temple which is the largest Buddhist temple in Beijing is nestled amongst gorgeous gardens. At the time of the Chinese New year, this temple is host to Buddhists all over China who come here to pray in the start of the year. Other times of the year, the temple is pretty tranquil and peaceful. The Lama Tibetan temple was meant to be used as a palace for Count Yin Zen when it was constructed, but was converted into a temple in the year of 1723.

The murals on the walls of the temple depict scenes from the life of Buddha. There is also a sand mandala which is kept protected in a glass chamber. There are also many statues, prayer wheels and sculptures housed in the temple.

5.Birthplace of Lord Buddha, Lumbini, Nepal

The place where Lord Buddha was born is situated in Nepal’s south west portion, 200 odd miles in the south west direction of the capital Nepali capital of Katmandu. This place sees a lot of  pilgrims annually.

The Maya Devi Temple is built in honor of Maya Devi, who was the mother of Buddha. The walls of the temple have carvings that illustrate how the birth of Buddha took place. There is a sacred stone here marking the exact location where Maya Devi gave birth to Lord Buddha.

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