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Buddhism in India

Buddhist Monk at a Monastery
Buddhism was born in India over 2500 years ago. It was founded by the Siddhatha Gautama, who was known as Buddha. There are more than ten thousand Buddhist in India. Buddhism is based on the teachings of the Gautama Buddha. The three main cycles of the Buddhist teachings are Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana. In north India region and few parts of Nepal, Buddhism emerged as the religion and spread across the world. There is no supreme God or Diety in Buddhism.

All Buddhists undertake to live by the Five moral Precepts which mean refraining from - harming living things, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, lying or gossip, taking intoxicating substances e.g. drugs or drink.

Festivals :

Buddha Jayanti is the major festival celebrated on a full moon day in April/May as Buddha's birth anniversary as well as enlightenment. People celebrated this festival with great interest and enthuiasm every year. Another festival Nyingma Monlam Chenmo is held in January-February for about three weeks, this festival is celebrated for world peace often attended by the Dalai Lama as well.

Buddhists sites in India :

Lumbini : One of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage is Lumbini, where Lord Buddha was born. It is the place which should be visited by a person in devotion. Located near Nepal- India border Lumbini is the mecca of every Buddhist. Marked by the stone pillar constructed by the Emperor Ashoka in 249 BC, is listed as one of the World Heritage Sites.

Bodhgaya : It is the pace where Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. Situated near the Niranjana river Bodhgaya, is one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage centres. It is marked with the famous Mahabodhi temple, which reflects the records of the events associated with the life of Buddha. People from all over the world come here to practice yoga and meditation.

Sarnath : Sarnath is a deer park where Buddha taught his sermon. It is situated 10 km from Varanasi. He taught here four noble truths, eightfold paths and middle way philosophy. The Bbuddha encouraged his followers to to avoid pleasures of life.

Sravasti : It was once the capital of Kosala Mahajanpada and was the largest town of the Gagentic plains in the lifetime of the Gautama Buddha. It is the place where Lord Buddha spent 25 years of his age. He started propagating Buddhism from Sravasti.

Sankashaya : In Sankashaya the Buddha descended from the Tushita Heaven. It is said that during the forty-first year of the Buddha's life, he went to the Tushita Heaven to teach Dharma to his mother, who had died shortly after the Buddha's death. Ashoka later built a Temple on the site. It is the place where no temples, or monasteries exist today.

Nalanda : Founded in the 5th century AD. Nalanda is the oldest university in India. It was the largest learning center that the world has ever known. It played the central role in the development of Buddhism.

Rajgir : Another of the most commonly visited places of Buddhist pilgrimage is Rajgir. It is just 15 km away from Nalanda. Located near the valley and lush green forest Rajgir is a very scenic place. The most important event of the Buddha's visits to Rajgir was the conversion of two future disciples, Sariputra and Maudgalyayana.


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