formally of Maha Bodhi Society of India
In terms of Maha Parinibbana Sutta, the four sections namely; Bhikku, Bhikkuni, Upasaka and Upasika see with their own eyes and worship with firm faith. Lumbini, Buddha Gaya, Isipathana and Kusinara will gain birth in heaven and not in unfortunate World. Hence it is desirable that a Buddhist makes it a point to do so in this life itself, without missing the opportunity of birth gained as a human-being today.
Apart from the four places of worship, there is a significant feature that all Buddhas use four identical places called ‘Avijahita’ (common to all Buddhas) as follows.
1. All Bodhisattas gain enlightenment at Buddha Gaya.
2. All Buddhas preach the First sermon; Dhammachaccapavattana Sutta at Isipathana, Migadaya. (stag park)
3. After observing vas and preaching Abhidhamma to Devas in heaven Buddhas coming to Sankassapura, on the earth.
4. All Buddhas continuously stay a long time at Jethavanarama at Savasti.
1. LUMBINI (Birth)
In the year 1896, Archaeologist Purea, a German discovered the birth spot of Prince Siddhartha in Lumbini Park. This discovery was made as a result of Asoka Pillar and the inscription by Emperor Asoka, after 20 years since his crowning ceremony.
This holy place of worship is situated about 20 miles from the present Nowgari Railway Station in the Nepal State which is named City of Siddhartha about 140 km away from Kusinara and five miles from the boundary of Indian Government. However, Lumbini Park is situated between the Town of Kapilawasthu belonging to Sakya clan and the Town of Dewdha belonging to Koliya clan. The Park belongs to the people of both clans. The Lord Buddha on His way to Dewdha Town He preached Dewdha Sutta.
Today, one can see the pond where Queen Mahamaya bathed and her Kovil used before the Birth of Prince Siddhartha. There is an iron-fence round the spot where the Prince was born together with the Asoka pillar as an indication.
2. BUDDHA GAYA (Enlightenment)
Holy place of Buddha Gaya is situated 265 km away from Varanasi in Bihar Province near river Neranja. The seat is called Vajirasana where Gauthama the Buddha attained Enlightenment as other Buddhas. Vajirasana is 7.5 feet long, 4 feet 10 inches wide and 3 feet in height. The nobility of Buddhahood at this spot is preserved than any other place on the earth.
The Maha Bodhi Vihara which is adorned with a gilded statue is visible inside the stupa in front of Vajirasana. It was constructed by King Dharmasoka in 250 BC according to Dr.Canningham, the Archaeologist. This stupa was restored from time to time by Kings like King Sado of Burma retaining the original structure.
It is noted that in 1893, Bodhisatta Anagarika Dharmapala preserved this invaluable Vihara at the risk of his life.
This stupa with an exquisite works of art is about 160 feet high and each square 50 feet. There had been Buddha statues but none to be seen now. The seven places where the Lord Buddha used to spend are named and preserved today. Thanks to the Archaeological Department of India.
3. ISIPATHANA (First Sermon)
The first sermon of the Lord Buddha was delivered to a group of five bhikkus at Isipathana near Benares, in 590 BC on Esala Full-moon Poyaday. It is called Dhammachaccapavattana Sutta (setting in motion The Wheel of Truth). Town of Benares then, is Varanasi now. It had a calm, pleasant and natural environment as Irshis assembled here to discuss phylosophycal thoughts in certain seasons. It is said that the name Isipathana is due to 500 Pachcheka Buddhas attained parinibbana at one time so as to allow the birth of Gauthama the Buddha.
Buddha stayed long in six cities in Isipathana, being the birth place of Kashshepa the Buddha and Meththeiya the Buddha who is to be born in the future.
4. KUSINARA (Parinibbana)
When one happens to see the state of Gouthama Buddha’s Parinibbana, unexplainable per flexibility of sorrow begins within one. The writer can still think of this sorrowful moment, when covering the whole body of Parinibbana state with a robe as a pirikara-pooja.
Maha Parinibbana took place in between the two trees in the Sala grove belonging to Malla royalty at Kusinara.
When all arahan bhikkus consoled themselves by the reality of life in view of all component things are liable to impermanency and decay while others were crying and lamenting. Bhikku Ananda was one among them. Even the nature was shocked and there occurred an earth-quake in sympathy.
The Lord Buddha’s words to venerable Ananda were thus: “What I have taught and laid down as Doctrine (Dhamma) and Discipline (Vinaya) will be your teacher when I am gone. If the Sangha wish Ananda, let them abolish the lesser and minor precepts (rules).
However, the last words of the Blessed One addressed the bhikkus saying;
“Then Bhikkus, I address you now : Transient are conditioned thing. Try to accomplish your aim with Diligence.”
– Parinibbana Sutta – Digha Nikaya Sutta # 06