Rajgir

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The 2,000-year-old Buddhist university of Nalanda lies near the ancient Indian city of Rajgir, one of the first places Gautama Buddha taught after his enlightenment in Bodhgaya. Getty Images.

Rajgir (India)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Rajgir, the ancient capital city of the Magadha kingdom, was among the first spots visited by Gautama Buddha as he began to spread the teachings of his new religion. It is only some 20 miles from Bodhgaya, where he attained enlightenment. Among the converts during the Buddha’s 12-year stay was King Bimbisara, who attended his talks on Gridhakuta Hill (Vulture Peak). Here Buddha would deliver what are termed the Wisdom Sutras (some of his first words recorded in writing). Buddha also frequently spent periods of meditation at the Jivkamaravana monastery, which was then located in a beautiful orchard. The nearby Saptaparni Caves is the site of the first Buddhist council that was called by his leading followers after the Buddha’s death. Ajatsatni, one of the Buddha’s leading disciples, received some of his ashes and built a STUPA to hold them and an adjacent monastery. That site is now a mound used as a graveyard.

Like most Buddhist centers, Rajgir suffered from the changing political and religious forces in China. The once flourishing city is today just a small town. However, as part of the global Buddhist effort to revive Buddhism in the land of its birth, Japanese Buddhists have constructed a contemporary stupa on top of Gridhakuta Hill that is known as the Shanti Stupa or Peace Pagoda.

Only ruins remain of Venuvana Vihar, the monastery constructed by King Bimbisara as a residence for Buddha.

Sources:

Majupuria, Trilok Chandra. Holy Places of Buddhism in Nepal and India: A Guide to Sacred Places in Buddha’s Lands. Columbia, MO: South Asia Books, 1987.
Panabokke, Gunaratne. History of the Buddhist Sangha in India and Sri Lanka. Dalugama, Kelaniya, Sri Lanka: Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Kelaniya, 1993.
Tulku, Tarthang, ed. Holy Places of the Buddha. Vol. 9. Crystal Mirror. Berkeley, CA: Dharma Publishing, 1994.
References in periodicals archive ?
I was fortunate enough to learn many a lessons in life from him during my visits to his ancestral home, Rajagaha at Divulapitiya.
He imagines an excursion to earlier religious holy lands, the sweet valley of the Rajagaha where the Buddha lived, or to the cave of Hira or holy sands of Mecca crossed by the Prophet.
At daybreak, the merchant loaded his wares in carts and set off in the direction of Rajagaha. As time went by, the embryo grew and reached maturity.
(77) Then that devi was reborn after death in the town of Rajagaha. She became the wife of the Brahmin Kapila.
The term Theravada can be translated as "Sayings of the Elders." The Dipavamsa (Dip 4.6) uses the term Theravada for the "sayings" that according to the traditional account were collected by the elders at the first communal recitation (sangiti) at Rajagaha. The same term Theravada in the Dipavamsa (Dip 5.51f) and in the commentary on the Kathavatthu (Kv-a 3) then refers to the Ceylonese Buddhist school that has preserved the Pali version of these sayings collected at the first communal recitation.
According to the commentary on the D gha-nikaya, the Sumangalavilasini (Sv I 11), at the first communal recitation at Rajagaha the bhikkhus decided to recite the Vinaya first.
The term Theravada can be translated as "Sayings of the Elders." In the Ceylonese chronicle Dipavamsa (4.6), the term designates the sayings that according to the traditional account were collected by the elders at the first communal recitation (sahgiti) at Rajagaha. (55) The same term Theravada in the Dipavamsa and in the commentary on the KathaVatthu then refers to the Ceylonese school that has preserved the Pali version of these sayings collected at the first communal recitation, which both works set in opposition to other Buddhist schools in India.
The Sumahgalavilasini reports that at the first communal recitation at Rajagaha the bhikkhus decided to recite the Vinaya first, since they felt that the Vinaya is what gives life force to the Buddha's dispensation, whose endurance is ensured as long as the Vinaya endures.
When he arrives in Rajagaha, he greets Mahakassapa, only to have the latter roundly abuse him:
(36) The commentary reads: "After the Teacher had attained Parinibbana, the elder Mahakassapa, seated in the midst of the company of monks who had gathered together for the Teacher's Parinibbana, selected five hundred monks, and said to them: 'Brothers, we will spend the rainy season in Rajagaha and recite the Dhamma and Vinaya.
According to the Vinaya (Vin I 43; Horner 4: 56), after achieving enlightenment, but before seeing his father again, the Buddha led one thousand ascetic-turned-monks to Rajagaha, and while staying there, he accepted into his Order two hundred and fifty new converts including Sariputta and Moggallana, the former disciples of the Sanjaya school.
Immediately after their meeting, the Buddha asked Ananda to have all monks residing at Rajagaha assemble.