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 ?
Present died at Rajagriha and Vidudabha along with his army was drowned by an untimely flood in the river Rapt.
Ajatashatru strengthened Rajagriha, the Magadha capital, and built a small fort, Pataligrama in the vicinity of the Ganges.
He helped the Buddhist monks to hold their first Buddhist Council at Rajagriha under his patronage.
Magadha enjoyed an advantageous geographical position in the age of iron, because the richest iron deposits were nor for away from Rajagriha.
Rajagriha was surrounded by a group of five hills and so it was rendered impregnable whereas Pataliputra were situated at the confluence of the Ganga, the Gandakand the Son, and a fourth river called the Hagar joined the Ganga nor far from Pataliputra.
Jesus lived for six years in Rajagriha, Kasi, and other holy places.
Similarly, the Chatushparishatsutra covers the stories connected with Bodh Gaya, Varanasi, and Rajagriha, when giving an account of the founding of the Buddhist order.