During kalchakra puja held in Bodhgaya recently our chief reporter met the chief monk as he told The Mahabodhi Vihar (Literally: “Great Awakening Temple”), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, marking the location where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.
our reporter asked the monk little history about his enlightenment he said ,
around 589 BCE, Siddhartha Gautama, a young prince who saw the suffering of the world and wanted to end it, reached the forested banks of the Phalgu river, near the city of Gaya, India. There he sat in meditation under a peepul tree which later became known as the Bodhi tree. According to Buddhist scriptures, after three days and three nights, Siddharta attained enlightenment and the answers that he had sought. In that location, Mahabodhi Temple was built by Emperor Ashoka in around 260 BCE
.our reporter asked about his actual place of enlightenment he replied,The Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya is directly connected to the life of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who attained enlightenment or perfect insight when he was meditating under it. The temple was built directly to the east of the Bodhi tree which is supposed to be a direct descendant of the original Bodhi Tree.we visited the enlightenment site looks very spiritual and peaceful place to sit and meditate also.
our reporter asked can you brief about the temple construction he replied,
In approximately 250 BCE, about 200 years after the Buddha attained Enlightenment, Buddhist Emperor Asoka visited Bodh Gaya in order to establish a monastery and shrine on the holy site.The new Mahabodhi temple included a diamond throne (called the Vajrasana) to mark the exact spot of the Buddha’s enlightenment. While Asoka is considered the Mahabodhi temple’s founder, the current structure dates from the 5th–6th century.
our reporter discussed about the attack earler on Mahabodhi temple and its ownership he replied ,
Buddhism declined when the dynasties patronizing it declined, following White Hun and the early ArabIslamic invasions such as that of Muhammad bin Qasim. A strong revival occurred under the Pala Empire in the northeast of the subcontinent (where the temple is situated). Mahayana Buddhism flourished under the Palas between the 8th and the 12th century. However, after the defeat of the Palas by the Hindu Sena dynasty, Buddhism’s position again began to erode and became nearly extinct in India. During the 12th century CE, Bodh Gaya and the nearby regions were invaded by MuslimTurk armies. During this period, the Mahabodhi Temple fell into disrepair and was largely abandoned. Over the following centuries, the monastery’s abbot or mahant position became occupied by the area’s primary landholder, who claimed ownership of the Mahabodhi Temple grounds.
During our talk we wanted to know control of the site and its management he told In 1891, the Sri Lankan Buddhist leader Anagarika Dharmapala, together with others such as Edwin Arnold, started a campaign to return control of the temple to Buddhists, over the objections of the Hindu mahant.
The campaign was partially successful in 1949, when control passed from the Hindu mahant to the state government of Bihar, which established a Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) under the Bodh Gaya Temple Act of 1949. The committee has nine members, a majority of whom, including the chairman, must by law be Hindus.The Bihar state government assumed responsibility for the protection, management, and monitoring of temple and its properties when India gained its independence. Pursuant to the Bodh Gaya Temple Act of 1949, such responsibilities are shared with the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee, and an advisory board. By law, the Committee must consist of four Buddhist and four Hindu representatives, including the head of Sankaracharya Math monastery as an ex-officio Hindu member.]The Committee serves for a three-year term. A 2013 Amendment to Bodhgaya Temple Management Act allows the Gaya District Magistrate to be the Chairman of committee, even if he is not HinduThe Bihar state government assumed responsibility for the protection, management, and monitoring of temple and its properties when India gained its independence. Pursuant to the Bodh Gaya Temple Act of 1949, such responsibilities are shared with the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee, and an advisory board. By law, the Committee must consist of four Buddhist and four Hindu representatives, including the head of Sankaracharya Math monastery as an ex-officio Hindu member., The Committee serves for a three-year term. A 2013 Amendment to Bodhgaya Temple Management Act allows the Gaya District Magistrate to be the Chairman of committee, even if he is not Hindu.
Finally he disclosed In June 2002, the Mahabodhi Temple became a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site. All finds of religious artifacts in the area are legally protected under the Treasure Trove Act of 1878.we feel lucky to meet BTMC secretary Mr.N.DORJEE,IAS RETD.and Member Mr..ARVIND SINGH etc.
By – Shyamal Sinha
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