Day 05 (28.11.2014) - Rajgir to Vaishali (130Km 5 hrs drive). Vaishali the place where monkeys offered honey to the Buddha.
As usual the hotel morning call at 5am and breakfast at 6am. At 7am we departed Rajgir for a 5hr drive to Vaishali, where the Second Buddhist Council was held after 100 years of Buddha’s Parinirvana.
On the long road journey we passed through the longest Indian road bridge about 6km across river Ganges from Patna to Hajipur. We only arrived at the hotel at 12noon for lunch. At 1.30pm we proceeded for site visit to the excavated remains of Kolhua where Lord Buddha delivered his last sermon. Later, Emperor Asokha erected a huge Pillar to commemorate the spot of the last sermon.
We also visited the remains of Buddhist Stupa, Vaishali, Vishwa Shanti Stupa (World Peace Pagoda) and the Vietnamese Buddhist Stupa-Vihara.
Lunch / Dinner and overnight at Rajgir : Hotel Vaishali Residency.
|A little shop by the lake side.|
|Passing through some of the villages open market along the road journey.|
|Mr Sharad briefing us and also some commentaries of the pilgrimage.|
|Datuk Seri also gave us very interesting commentaries of the pilgrimage.|
|In view of the long road journey and to kill time, everyone had to come to the microphone to introduce themselves. Standing here my sister Bee Geok.|
|That was me telling my story.|
|Their kitchens are in front of houses out in the open space by the road side.|
|On the long road journey we passed through the longest Indian road bridge about 6km across river Ganges from Patna to Hajipur.|
|Lunch / Dinner and overnight at Rajgir : Hotel Vaishali Residency.|
|These are all the poor farmers along the roads.|
|Kolhua, a part and parcel of ancient city of Vaishali marks the spot where a local chief of monkeys had offered a bowl of honey to Lord Buddha. The event is regarded as one of the eight most significant events of his life according to the Buddhist literature. This was the place where Buddha spent many a rainy seasons, allowed nuns to the Sangha for the first time, announced his approaching Nirvana and converted Amrapali from a proud court dancer to a nun.|
|The adjoining tank has been identified as ‘Markat-Hrid’ supposedly dug by the monkeys for Buddha. This brick lined seven tiered tank measuring approximately 65 x 35 metres in dimension has two bathing ghats on southern and western wings.|
|Our Bro. Wong Mun Heng caught in action.|
|Our chanting and meditation led by our Datuk Seri Dr. Victor Wee.|
|Further commentaries by Datuk Seri Dr. Victor Wee.|
|Presently the soapstone relic casket can be viewed at Patna Museum. (Reference: The Corporeal Relics of the Buddha. Dr. A. S. Altekar, 1956. From a brochure of the Patna Museum, Patna)|
|It was dinner time at Hotel Vaishali Residency and please eat all you can!|
Vesali or Vaishali, capital of the Licchavis or Vajjis, was the headquarters of the powerful Vajjian confederacy of eight clans, of whom the Licchavis and Videhans were the most important. It was the first republic in the world modelled on the Aparihaniya Dhamma or the seven conditions leading to welfare, which the Buddha taught to the Vajjians when he was dwelling at the Saranda shrine in Vaishali. Thus united, they became so powerful that Ajatasattu of Magadha had to resort to treachery by sending the Brahmin Vassakara to sow discord among the Vajjian princes for three years in order to weaken them. By then, they were too disunited to defend their country and Ajatasattu conquered them.
The Buddha visited Vaishali several times, spending his 5th and 44th vassas there and many Licchavi nobles became his disciples. When Vaishali was plagued with famine, disease, and evil spirits, the Buddha was invited by the Licchavi nobles to help them alleviate the plagues. Buddha then preached the Ratana Sutta (Jewel Discourse) and instructed Ven. Ananda to go round the city walls reciting it as a Protection. Thereafter, the Buddha recited it for seven days and all the plagues then abated. But the event that elevated the status of Vaishali to an important pilgrimage site was the offering of a bowl of honey by a band of monkeys to the Blessed One, an incident mentioned among the Four Great Miracles in the Buddha’s life.
At Vaishali, the Buddha allowed women to be admitted to the Sangha after Ven. Ananda successfully pleaded to the Buddha for the ordination of Maha Pajapati Gotami and several Sakyan ladies. The Buddha then decreed the Eight Chief Rules, in addition to the Disciplinary Code observed by monks, which bhikkhunis or nuns “should revere, reverence, honour and respect for life and which should not be transgressed”. Thus the Bhikkhuni Sangha came to be established in Vaishali.
Once the Buddha was staying in a mango grove of Ambapali, the chief courtesan of Vaishali who invited him to a house dana, forestalling the Licchavi nobles who then offered her money in exchange for the invitation. But she politely declined their offer for she valued the dana more and after the meals, even donated her mango grove to the Buddha and Sangha. The Buddha spent the last vassa in Vesali where he relinquished the will to live at the Capala shrine. After the Mahaparinibbana, the Licchavis obtained a share of the Buddha’s relics from Kusinara and erected a grand stupa over the holy relics in Vaishali.
Vaishali is celebrated to possess the Buddha’s alms bowl, which he donated to them before his Parinibbana.
Day 01 (24.11.2014) Kuala Lumpur - Bangkok - Bodhgaya, India
Day 02 (25.11.2014) Bodhgaya/Dungeswari Cave/Sujata Stupa/Bodhgaya
Day 03 (26.11.2014) Bodhgaya - Rajgir by coach (80km, 3 hrs drive)
Day 04 (27.11.2014) Rajgir - Gijjhakuta Hill (Vulture Peak) /Nalanda/Rajgir
Day 05 (28.11.2014) Rajgir – Vaishali by coach (130km, 5 hrs drive)
Day 07 (30.11.2014) Kushinagar – Lumbini by coach (160km, 7hrs drive)
Day 08 (01.12.2014) Lumbini, Nepal
Day 09 (02.12.2014) Lumbini – Sravasti by a/c coach (250Km, 8hrs drive)
Day 10 (03.12.2014) Sravasti – Varanasi by coach (270Km, 11 hrs. drive)
Day 11 (04.12.2014) Varanasi – Saranath – Varanasi by coach (12Km, half hr.) Varanasi – Bangkok TG328 16:30hrs 21:15hrs
Day 12 (05.12.2014) Bangkok – Kuala Lumpur
Buddhist Pilgrimage by Bro. Chan Khoon San
What Buddhists Believe? by Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda
The Travel Records of Chinese Pilgrims Faxian, Xuanzang and Yijing
The Buddha - Documentary (Narrated by Richard Gere)
The Life of Buddha - BBC Documentary (National Geographic)