The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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The most important places of pilgrimage in Buddhism are located in the Gangetic plains of Northern India and Southern Nepal, in the area between New Delhi and Rajgir. This is the area where Gautama Buddha lived and taught, and the main sites connected to his life are now important places of pilgrimage for both Buddhists and Hindus. However, many countries that are or were predominantly Buddhist have shrines and places which can be visited as a pilgrimage.
Places where Buddha lived
Four main pilgrimage sites
The Eight Great Places
In the later commentarial tradition, four other sites are also raised to a special status because Buddha had performed a certain miracle there. These four places, partly through the inclusion in this list of commentarial origin, became important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in ancient India, as the Attha-mahathanani (Pali for 'The Eight Great Places'). It is important to note, however, that some of these events do not occur in the Tipitaka and are thus purely commentarial.
The last four are places where a certain miraculous event is reported to have occurred:
- Sravasti: Place of the Twin Miracle, showing his supernatural abilities in performance of miracles. Sravasti is also the ::place where Buddha spent the largest amount of time, being a major city in ancient India.
- Rajgir: Place of the subduing of Nalagiri, the angry elephant, through friendliness. Rajgir was another major city of ::ancient India.
- Sankassa: Place of the descending to earth from Tusita heaven (after a stay of 3 months teaching his mother the Abhidhamma).
- Vaishali: Place of receiving an offering of honey from a monkey. Vaishali was the capital of the Vajjian Republic of ::ancient India.
Some other pilgrimage places in India and Nepal connected to the life of Gautama Buddha are: Pataliputta, Nalanda, Vikramshila, Gaya, Kapilavastu, Kosambi, Amaravati, Nagarjuna Konda, Sanchi, Varanasi, Kesariya, Devadaha, Pava and MathuraMandaver(Bijnor U.P),Hapur(ghaziabad U.P). Most of these places are located in the Gangetic plain.
Other pilgrimage places
Other famous places for Buddhist pilgrimage in various countries include:
- Afghanistan: the Bamiyan Buddhas.
- Cambodia: Angkor Thom, Silver Pagoda.
- China: Yungang Grottoes, Longmen Grottoes. The Four Sacred Mountains namely Wǔtái Shān(五台山), Éméi Shān(峨嵋山), Jiǔhuá ::Shān(九华山), Pǔtuó Shān(普陀山), Potala Palace, Mount Kailash, Lake Nam-tso.
- India: Sanchi, Ellora, Ajanta.
- Indonesia: Borobudur, Mendut, Sewu.
- Japan: Kyoto, Nara, Shikoku Pilgrimage, Kansai Kannon Pilgrimage
- Laos: Luang Prabang.
- Myanmar: Bagan, Sagaing Hill, Mandalay Hill, Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, Shwedagon Pagoda.
- Nepal: Boudnanath Stupa, Swayambhunath, Kapilavastu.
- Sri Lanka: Anuradhapura (the Atamasthana or 'eight places'), Mihintale, Polonnaruwa, the Temple of the Tooth (Kandy), ::Sri ::Pada.
- South Korea: Bulguksa, Three Jewel Temples
- Thailand: Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Doi Suthep, Phra Pathom Chedi, Phra Buddha Chinnarat.
- United States of America: City of Ten Thousand Buddhas - Largest Monastery-Nunnery in USA in terms of numbers of ::ordained monastic Bhikshus and Bhikshunis. First full ordination on American soil.