Describe a journey to a Buddhist place of Pilgrimage.

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Becki Miller


Describe a journey to a Buddhist

 place of Pilgrimage

        Pilgrimage is a special journey to an important place and in a Buddhists case usually a place of worship. It often a once in a lifetime trip for the purpose of aiding the journey to enlightenment.

        For a Buddhist there are four main places that they might go on a pilgrimage, the Lumbini grove, Bodh Gaya, the deer park at Sarnath and Kushinara.

        The Lumbini Grove is an obvious place to go on Pilgrimage as it is the birthplace of the Siddartha Gotama. This is marked by an inscription on a pillar which reads “Here the Buddha was born”.

        The journey to the Lumbini grove is half an hour from the nearest train station, followed by hours on cycle, rickshaw or on foot. There are a few monks, two temples and a pool at this remote site.

        Bodh Gaya is the place of Siddartha Gotama’s enlightenment, it is the most sacred place of pilgrimage in the Buddhist world. Clearly many Buddhists believe that this is a place of great “spiritual power” which becomes more intense each time pilgrims visit, as this is the place where Siddartha became Buddha. Many people believe that this is the site of enlightenment for all great Buddhists; however, in my opinion this is incorrect as there are hundreds of great Buddhists in the world, in fact I feel that any Buddhist that has pure faith is  great Buddhist, and surely not every Buddhist in the world has been on pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya.

        At this site pilgrims walk around the bodhi tree in a clockwise direction, this is a practise which is called circumambulation. The tree is decorated with flowers and prayer flags. Situated next to the bodhi tree is the Mahabodhi, or great enlightenment temple, it houses an image of the Buddha at the moment of his enlightenment, to which offerings of light, incense and flowers are given by the pilgrims.

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        The Deer Park at Sarnath is not a hugely important site of pilgrimage but it is still visited because it is the place where the Buddha preached his very first sermon, and all that is at  Sarnath is a statue of the Buddha preaching. Again offerings of flowers, light and incense are given. The flowers are given to represent the three marks of existence Anicca the belief that everything changes and grows, Anatta the Buddhist belief that there is no self or soul and Dukkha everything suffers, decays and dies.

        Finally Kushinara, this is a site of great importance ...

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