Thursday, February 3, 2011

Places and monasteries of the Buddha

According to evidences appeared in Marothapūranī scripture, it states monasteries and places the Buddha dwelt in in his 45 years of long journey for his doctrine propagation: 

  • The first year [vas᷂sa]: the Buddha dwelt in the Isipatanamag᷂gadāyavanam᷂[s. Isipatanamar᷂uga] forest literally means ‘the forest which is granted for sages [Isi] and animals.
  • The 2nd- 4th year: the Buddha dwelt in Rājagaha [S. Rājagr᷂ih], the capital city of Magadha Kingdom. It is believed to be one of ancient political powerhouse in India in the time of the Buddha.
  • The 5th year: the Buddha dwelt in the city of Vesālī, the capital city of Vaj᷂jī Kingdom.
  • The 6th year: the Buddha dwelt Makulapab᷂bata Mountain.
  • The 7th year: the Buddha is stated to dwell in Tāvatiŋsa Heaven, literally means the 33rd level heaven. [still questionable regarding his actual dwelling in this year, for the account of him traveled to the heaven named ‘Tāvatiŋsa’ to preach his late mother is unconvincing for many current scholars]
  • The 8th year: the Buddha dwelt in bhesakal᷂āvana in bhag᷂gajanapada, a small kingdom of Bhagga.
  • The 9th year: the Buddha dwelt in the city of Kosam᷂bhī, the capital city of Vaŋsa Kingdom. It is believed to be the major political rival of Magada in the time of the Buddha.
  • The 10th year: the Buddha dwelt in Pālileyaka forest.
  • The 11th year: the Buddha is believed to dwell in the Brahmin village named ‘Ekanālā’ in the Kingdom of Magadha.
  • The 12th year: the Buddha dwelt in the city Veran᷂jarā
  • The 13th year: the Buddha dwelt near the mountain called ‘Cālikapab᷂bata’
  • The 14th year: the Buddha, for the first time, dwelt in Jetavanārama [the first proper monastery built by Prince Jeta for a specific dwelling of the Buddha after wondering around for many years without proper places].
  • The 15th year: the Buddha returned to the city of Kapilavat᷂tam᷂ [S. Kapilavastu], his home-town and family’s kingdom. He dwelt and spent his time propagate his teachings for people in his former kingdom, for the first time since he went forth from home to homelessness stage. It is stated in Buddhist discourses that he managed to introduce the new doctrine and successfully convert the belief of many of his family’ members, princes, princesses and ordinaries. At the end of the stay, many of his relatives had followed his path by ordaining in Buddhist tradition.
  • The 16th year: the Buddha dwelt in the city of āl᷂avī [no reference of this place, but could be some small town or city near his kingdom]
  • The 17th year: the Buddha returned to Rājagaha city, and dwelt there for another year.
  •  The 18th year: For another time, he then returned and dwelt in Cālikapab᷂bata Mountain. This very place must be a small town or temporary monastery the Buddha usually stops by on the way between major cities.
  • The 20th year: Again, the Buddha returned and spent another year in Rājagaha city. Note that at this stage the popularity of his doctrine gradually arose and well accepted by ruling class and elite people, therefore he sometimes took an opportunity to firmly constitute his teaching particularly in major cities.
  • The 21st- 45th year: from this year on to the end of his life, for the deterioration of this physical strength and health, he chose to dwell the rest of his time debating, teaching and advice ascetic, Brahmins and ruling class people at Jetavan monastery and the city of Sāvatthī.

Only in the last year of his life the Buddha, unexpectedly, decided to take a long journey again at the age of 80 aiming towards the city of Pāvā and Kusinārā. The full account appears in Mahāparibānasutta [Mahāparivarn᷂asutra]. It is believed that the aging, unhealthy, and stricken Buddha wanted to spend the last year of his life and wished to visit another kingdom of his relatives which are Pāvā and Kusinārā. Eventually he died here ending a long journey of 45 years which immensely brings wisdom, virtuous teachings and wonders to the world.

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