Kusinagara (India)(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
Gautama Buddha (c. 563-c. 483 BCE), after a long and successful life in laying the foundations of Buddhism, spent his last days at Kusinagara, a town in eastern Uttar Pradesh, where he delivered a number of important discourses, including the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, on the subject of diligence, and admitted the last followers to be received as Buddhists by him personally. Following the Buddha’s death, his body was cremated and the remains divided among eight Buddhist kings from different parts of India. Some of his ashes were enshrined at Kusinagara.
The importance of Kusinagara was expanded during the reign of the Buddhist King Asoka in the third century BCE. He initiated a period during which most of the religious structures in the community were constructed. It remained an active Buddhist center for many centuries, until the Buddhist community was destroyed during the years of Muslim rule beginning in the ninth century. For almost a thousand years Kusinagara was lost in the jungles. It was relocated in 1880 by British explorers. Extensive excavations have uncovered the remains of a large monastic community that survived into the eleventh century.
Today, two important ancient remains are the focus of believers’ attention. The Chankhandi Stupa marks the spot where many believe that Buddha was cremated. In the midst of the ruins is a large pillar originally erected by King Asoka. None of the Buddha’s relics that had been placed in the stupa are known to exist. Close by is the Mahaparinirvana Temple, in the midst of which was found a large statue of a reclining Buddha. In 1927 Burmese Buddhists rebuilt the temple.
Indian, Japanese, and Sri Lankan Buddhists have jointly built a modern Buddhist center to welcome pilgrims and facilitate their visit. In 1994, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary ofthe enthronement of King Bhumibhol Adulyadej of Thailand and to contribute to the effort to reestablish Buddhism in India, Thai Buddhists constructed Wat Thai Kusinara Chalermraj, one of several contemporary Buddhist temples now in Kusinagara.