How many temples are there in Gaya

Buddha found knowledge in Bodh Gaya, India: Under the sacred Bodhi tree

Enlarge image 1 +

The sacred Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya

Tsering Dolma is not here for the first time. The stocky Tibetan woman, who wears a traditional skirt and rimless glasses, is accompanied by her husband and explains: "We come here almost every year, visit the temple, make sacrifices and want to find a little peace in the process!"

Bodh Gaya: Buddhist pilgrimage site for 2300 years 

The mighty tower of the Mahabodhi Temple rises steeply above the small town, its 55 meter high, gold-plated top can be seen from everywhere. The more than one square kilometer park that surrounds the temple is an oasis of peace. The temple only houses a small prayer room, in which a gilded Buddha statue smiles down on the believers. Hundreds of votive stupas, donated by kings and wealthy admirers, adorn the park. The actual sanctuary, however, is the Bodhi tree, a gnarled poplar fig at the back of the temple. Around 2500 years ago, the wandering monk Siddhartha meditated under its sprawling branches until he experienced enlightenment and became the Buddha, the awakened. The leading monk Bhikku Chalinda, well fed and wrapped in yellow cloths, outlines the history of the sanctuary: "The Buddha lived here in the sixth century BC. Around 300 years later, the Emperor Ashoka built the first temple and the diamond throne. He also left erect a stupa over ten meters high. Later the kings of other realms perpetuated themselves with the building of further stupas. Bodh Gaya became a place of pilgrimage. Buddhist pilgrims have been coming to Bodh Gaya for 2300 years. "

Bodhi tree is a fourth generation offshoot 

Enlarge image 2 +

The temple complex in Bodh Gaya has been a Buddhist pilgrimage site for 2300 years

A stone slab under the Bodhi tree protected by a stone fence is venerated as a diamond throne. It marks the place where the Buddha was in 528 BC. Recognized the so-called "Four Noble Truths". The visitors hope that the special power that apparently resides in this place may bless them. Therefore, settle in the shade of the Bodhi tree to pray and meditate. The original tree under which the Buddha sat had to be replaced several times by offshoots of other sacred trees because storms, diseases and wars destroyed the sanctuary. According to Bhikku Chalinda, today's Bodhi tree is a fourth generation descendant.

Faith communities from many countries have built monasteries and temples in Bodh Gaya. Zen Buddhists from Japanese cities with over a million inhabitants, shepherd nomads from the vastness of the Tibetan highlands, farmers and business people from the tropical island of Sri Lanka, monks from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand meet here. More and more believers are also coming from the western industrialized countries. The Polish therapist Slawomir Latko has been practicing singing bowls and Zen meditation for three months: "When I wake up in the morning, I first try to remember my dreams. After taking a shower, I visit a park and wake up my body too Chi-gung exercises: stretching, jumping, breathing exercises. Then it is time for breakfast and a visit to the temple. It is especially beautiful in the morning light. I am looking for a good place and do Za-Zen meditation. It comes close to me of the temple very easily, probably because of the energy accumulated by many people. Later I sit in my favorite tea shop and watch life around me. At lunchtime I meet my friend, the lama, and do some exercises with him. "

Pilgrims bring flowers as gifts  

All day long, pilgrims walk around the temple on a balustrade, chatting and mumbling prayers. Tibetan women carry prayer drums with them and keep them moving constantly. A monk leads a group of perhaps forty women from Sri Lanka dressed all in white through the sanctuary. Among them is the 24-year-old Pramisha Miriyagalla, who accompanies her mother on a three-week pilgrimage. The journey by train and bus was very strenuous, they were very tired, but happy to be at their destination, says the young woman and adds: "We want our Lord, the Worship Buddha. We give him flowers, bring him sandalwood, lotus blossoms, betel leaves. "

Enlarge image 3 +

In the prayer room, a gilded Buddha statue smiles down on believers

Then Pramisha digs a colorful basket out of a plastic bag and proudly presents it. She recreated the scene of enlightenment from colorful scraps of paper: the sacred Bodhi tree, including the diamond throne, oil lamps and a small river. They want to put this special gift on the ledge of the temple and pray to the Buddha. Perhaps the Almighty will then fulfill her heart's desire, the young woman hopes.

Editor: Gerald Beyrodt

Status: 08/02/2015, 9:20 a.m.