Bodh Gaya

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Bodh Gaya is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is famous as it is the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment (Pali: bodhi) under what became known as the Bodhi Tree.

Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, Bihar in 1935.JPG


  • Sister Nivedita also relates that Swamiji's first act after taking Sannyas was to "hurry to Bodh Gaya, and sit under the great tree"; and that his last journey, too, had taken him to Bodh Gaya.
    • Sister Nivedita about Vivekananda, quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743, quoting Sister Nivedita: The Master as I Saw Him, p. 210-215.
  • The Tibetan monk Dharmaswamin came to India in AD 1234, that is, within forty years of the destruction and plunder of Nalanda. He stayed in Magadha for about two and half years, and spent about six months in Nalanda itself. People lived and hid in dread of the marauding Muslim rulers: ‘… he [Dharmaswamin] and his hosts were always in apprehension of a Muslim attack any time,’ Dr. A.S. Altekar informs us while introducing the Biography. Altekar summarizes Dharmaswamin’s account: When Dharmaswmin reached Vaisali on his way to Bodh Gaya, the town was all deserted on account of the apprehended arrival of a Muslim force. People used to desert their houses by day and come back to them at night. Vikramsila had been completely destroyed before 1206 A.D. and its foundation stones had been hurled into the Ganga. The Bodh Gaya establishment had been deserted by all except four monks. The ancient image had been walled up by a brick wall and a new one had been put in the ante-chamber. The old image had, however, been already despoiled of its emerald eyes earlier. The king of Bodh Gaya had fled to the forest. Dharmaswamin himself had to flee away for seventeen days… Dharmaswamin found Nalanda to be a ghost of what it had been. Of the eight temples and the fourteen large and eighty-four smaller monasteries, only two viharas were in serviceable condition. There was ‘absolutely no one to look after them or make offerings,’ Dharmaswami noted.
    • Biography of Dharmaswamin, (Chag lo tsa-ba Chos-rje-dpal), original Tibetan text deciphered and translated by George Roerich, reprinted by K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna, 1959, p. xix., quoted in Shourie, Arun (2014). Eminent historians: Their technology, their line, their fraud. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Since 1590, Shaiva monks had taken care of the temple, which had been abandoned by Buddhists after the massacre of the Buddhist monks by Muslim invaders in ca. A.D. 1192. In 1874, they agreed to the Burmese king’s proposal to re-establish the building as a Buddhist place of worship. But the Anglo-Burmese War and several foreign interventions spoiled the project.
    • About the Mahabodhi Temple. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.
  • “the laudable work of the construction of the Mahabodhi temple” was “undertaken by a Brahmana minister of Shaivite persuasion”.6
    • Dipak K. Barua (of the Bodh Gaya temple management committee): Buddha Gaya, Bodh Gaya 1981, p.41, with reference to Xuan Zang, who saw the temple in 637 A.D. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.
  • The earliest and most authentic record is of course by Hiuen Tsang [= Xuan Zang] who visited Bodh Gaya in A.D. 637. He says that two Brahmin brothers prayed to Lord Maheshwara in the Himalayas to grant their wishes, upon which Maheshwara instructed them to carry out the meritorious task of erecting a large temple and excavate a large tank and devote all kinds of religious offerings near the most sanctified Bodhi tree for attaining ‘the fruit of a Buddha’. The elder Brahmin devotee accordingly built a large temple”.
    • “Bodh Gaya: Facts and Fiction”, Daya Prakash. Organiser, 16-7-1995. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.
  • “concerning the right of the Hindus to worship the Buddha-image Dharmeshwara, [the Bodhi tree] in the Bodh-Gaya temple and its sacred area, we have noticed that as far back as the Kushana age it is enjoined in the Epic version of the earlier Eulogium that every pious Hindu visiting Gaya should make it a point to go also to Dharmaprastha or Bodh-Gaya and have a sacred touch of the Buddha image of the place. The later Eulogium in the Puranas enjoins in the same manner that every Hindu pilgrim to the Gaya region desiring to release the departed spirits of his ancestors must visit also Bodh Gaya to pay his respectful homage to the Buddha image Dharmeshvara as well as the [Bodhi treel”.... “So far as our information goes, the Buddhists have never and nowhere prevented the Hindus from either visiting or conducting worship at their shrines. As a matter of fact, they have no case against the Hindu devotees coming to a Buddhist shrine for worship. Their shrines remain open to all for worship, without any distinction of caste and creed. The inscription of Keshava, engraved during the reign of Dharmapala, clearly proves that the Buddhists were liberal and tolerant enough even to allow a Hindu to instal a figure of his deities, Shiva and Brahma, in their temple at Bodh-Gaya for the benefit of the resident Shaivite Brahmins.”
    • Prof. Benimadhab Barua: “Bodh-Gaya from Buddhist Point of View and Bodh-Gaya from Hindu Point of view”, app.2 in D.K. Barua: Buddha Gaya, p.267-9 Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.
  • “The iconoclastic fury of Islam must have [had] a terrible effect on the shrines of the Gaya region, and particularly on Buddhism, with the result that a time came when, there being no Buddhists to look after their own shrines and worship at Bodh Gaya, the Brahmins had to do their work even by going [outside] their jurisdiction.”
    • Dr. Abdul Qudoos Ansari: Archaeological Remains, p.26, 119. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.
  • [The then king Buddhasena (the last but one independent ruler in the area) had] fled into the forest on the outskirts of Gaya on the approach of the Turkish raiders but returned soon after withdrawal. [The famous Tibetan monk Dharmaswami] had to flee away for seventeen days, owing to the [apprehension of] the attack of the Turks, [and king Buddhasena,] not able to provide protection, escaped into the forest for fear of the Turks. ... According to Dharmaswami, the Bodh Gaya establishment had been deserted by all except for [some] monks, on account of the repeated Turkish conquests.
    • Dr. Abdul Qudoos Ansari: Archaeological Remains, p.26, 119. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.
  • Hsuen Tsang's contention, from hearsay, that the Shaiva king Shashank had persecuted Buddhists and felled the Bodhi tree, also goes unquestioned. Yet, his story is just visibly untrustworthy : he claims that a replanted sapling of the Bodhi tree (which, from his story, must have been felled only a few years before his own arrival) miraculously grew overnight into a mature tree. Remember that secularist historians reject myths and irrational beliefs? What Hsuen Tsang got to see with his own eyes was a tree far bigger than a recently replanted sapling could have been: an indication that the tree had never been felled in the first place. Yet, so many secularist history books go on declaring that "fanatical Shashank felled the Bodhi tree", in defiance of proper historical criticism.
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.

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