Sir Alexander Cunningham was a British army engineer with the Bengal Engineer Group who took an interest in the history and archaeology of India. In 1861 he was appointed to the newly created position of archaeological surveyor to the government of India, he made extensive collections of artefacts. Some of his collections were lost, but most of the gold and silver coins and a fine group of Buddhist sculptures and jewellery were bought by the British Museum in 1894. Cunningham was born in London in 1814 to the Scottish poet Allan Cunningham and his wife Jean née Walker. Along with his older brother, Joseph, he received his early education at London. Through the influence of Sir Walter Scott, both Joseph and Alexander obtained cadetships at the East India Company's Addiscombe Seminary, followed by technical training at the Royal Engineers Estate at Chatham. Alexander joined the Bengal Engineers at the age of 19 as a Second Lieutenant and spent the next 28 years in the service of British Government of India.
Soon after arriving in India on 9 June 1833, he met James Prinsep. He was in daily communication with Prinsep during 1837 and 1838 and became his intimate friend and pupil. Prinsep passed on to him his lifelong interest in Indian antiquity. From 1836 to 1840 he was ADC to the Governor-General of India. During this period he visited Kashmir, not well explored, he finds mention by initials in Up the Country by Emily Eden. In 1841 Cunningham was made executive engineer to the king of Oudh. In 1842 he was called to serve the army in thwarting an uprising in Bundelkhand by the ruler of Jaipur, he was posted at Nowgong in central India before he saw action at the Battle of Punniar in December 1843. He became engineer at Gwalior and was responsible for constructing an arched stone bridge over the Morar River in 1844–45. In 1845–46 he was called to serve in Punjab and helped construct two bridges of boats across the Beas river prior to the Battle of Sobraon. In 1846 he was made commissioner along with P. A.
Vans Agnew to demarcate boundaries. Letters were written to the Chinese and Tibetan officials by Lord Hardinge. A second commission was set up in 1847, led by Cunningham to establish the Ladakh-Tibet boundary, which included Henry Strachey and Thomas Thomson. Henry and his brother Richard Strachey had trespassed into Lake Mansarovar and Rakas Tal in 1846 and his brother Richard revisited in 1848 with botanist J. E. Winterbottom; the commission was set up to delimit the northern boundaries of the Empire after the First Anglo-Sikh War concluded with the Treaty of Amritsar, which ceded Kashmir as war indemnity expenses to the British. His early work Essay on the Aryan Order of Architecture arose from his visits to the temples in Kashmir and his travels in Ladakh during his tenure with the commission, he was present at the battles of Chillianwala and Gujrat in 1848–49. In 1851, he explored the Buddhist monuments of Central India along with Lieutenant Maisey and wrote an account of these. In 1856 he was appointed chief engineer of Burma, which had just been annexed by Britain, for two years.
In both regions, he established public works departments. He was therefore absent from India during the Rebellion of 1857, he was appointed Colonel of the Royal Engineers in 1860. He retired on 30 June 1861. Cunningham had taken a keen interest in antiquities early in his career. Following Jean-Baptiste Ventura, general of Ranjit Singh, who inspired by the French explorers in Egypt had excavated the bases of pillars to discover large stashes of Bactrian and Roman coins, excavations became a regular activity among British antiquarians. In 1834 he submitted to the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal an appendix to James Prinsep's article on the relics in the Mankiala stupa, he had conducted excavations at Sarnath in 1837 along with Colonel F. C. Maisey and made careful drawings of the sculptures. In 1842 he excavated at Sankassa and at Sanchi in 1851. In 1854 he published The Bhilsa Topes, an attempt to establish the history of Buddhism based on architectural evidence. By 1851 he began to communicate to William Henry Sykes and the East India Company on the value of an archaeological survey.
He provided a rationale that could earn the funding needed for the venture stating that:...would be an undertaking of vast importance to the Indian Government politically, to the British public religiously. To the first body it would show that India had been divided into numerous petty chiefships, which had invariably been the case upon every successful invasion. To the other body it would show that Brahmanism, instead of being an unchanged and unchangeable religion which had subsisted for ages, was of comparatively modern origin, had been receiving additions and alterations. Following his retirement from the Royal Engineers in 1861, The 1st Earl Canning Viceroy of India, appointed Cunningham archaeological surveyor to the Government of India, he held this appointment from 1861 to 1865, but it was terminated through lack of funds. Most antiquarians of the 19th century who took interest in identifying the major cities mentioned in ancient Indian texts did so by putting together clues found in classical Graeco-Ro
Gautama Buddha known as Siddhārtha Gautama in Sanskrit or Siddhattha Gotama in Pali, Shakyamuni Buddha, or the Buddha, after the title of Buddha, was a monk, sage, philosopher and religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught in the northeastern part of ancient India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. Gautama taught a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and the severe asceticism found in the śramaṇa movement common in his region, he taught throughout other regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kosala. Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism, he is believed by Buddhists to be an enlightened teacher who attained full Buddhahood and shared his insights to help sentient beings end rebirth and suffering. Accounts of his life and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarised after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition and first committed to writing about 400 years later.
Scholars are hesitant to make unqualified claims about the historical facts of the Buddha's life. Most people accept that the Buddha lived and founded a monastic order during the Mahajanapada era during the reign of Bimbisara, the ruler of the Magadha empire, died during the early years of the reign of Ajatasatru, the successor of Bimbisara, thus making him a younger contemporary of Mahavira, the Jain tirthankara. While the general sequence of "birth, renunciation, search and liberation, death" is accepted, there is less consensus on the veracity of many details contained in traditional biographies; the times of Gautama's birth and death are uncertain. Most historians in the early 20th century dated his lifetime as c. 563 BCE to 483 BCE. More his death is dated between 411 and 400 BCE, while at a symposium on this question held in 1988, the majority of those who presented definite opinions gave dates within 20 years either side of 400 BCE for the Buddha's death; these alternative chronologies, have not been accepted by all historians.
The evidence of the early texts suggests that Siddhārtha Gautama was born into the Shakya clan, a community, on the periphery, both geographically and culturally, of the eastern Indian subcontinent in the 5th century BCE. One of his usual names was "Sakamuni" or "Sakyamunī", it was either a small republic, or an oligarchy, his father was an elected chieftain, or oligarch. According to the Buddhist tradition, Gautama was born in Lumbini, now in modern-day Nepal, raised in the Shakya capital of Kapilvastu, which may have been either in what is present day Tilaurakot, Nepal or Piprahwa, India. According to Buddhist tradition, he obtained his enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, gave his first sermon in Sarnath, died in Kushinagar. Apart from the Vedic Brahmins, the Buddha's lifetime coincided with the flourishing of influential Śramaṇa schools of thought like Ājīvika, Cārvāka, Ajñana. Brahmajala Sutta records sixty-two such schools of thought. In this context, a śramaṇa refers to one who toils, or exerts themselves.
It was the age of influential thinkers like Mahavira, Pūraṇa Kassapa, Makkhali Gosāla, Ajita Kesakambalī, Pakudha Kaccāyana, Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, as recorded in Samaññaphala Sutta, whose viewpoints the Buddha most must have been acquainted with. Indeed and Moggallāna, two of the foremost disciples of the Buddha, were the foremost disciples of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, the sceptic. There is philological evidence to suggest that the two masters, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, were indeed historical figures and they most taught Buddha two different forms of meditative techniques. Thus, Buddha was just one of the many śramaṇa philosophers of that time. In an era where holiness of person was judged by their level of asceticism, Buddha was a reformist within the śramaṇa movement, rather than a reactionary against Vedic Brahminism; the life of the Buddha coincided with the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley during the rule of Darius I from about 517/516 BCE. This Achaemenid occupation of the areas of Gandhara and Sindh, to last for about two centuries, was accompanied by the introduction of Achaemenid religions, reformed Mazdaism or early Zoroastrianism, to which Buddhism might have in part reacted.
In particular, the ideas of the Buddha may have consisted of a rejection of the "absolutist" or "perfectionist" ideas contained in these Achaemenid religions. No written records about Gautama were found from his lifetime or from the one or two centuries thereafter. In the middle of the 3rd century BCE, several Edicts of Ashoka mention the Buddha, Ashoka's Rummindei Minor Pillar Edict commemorates the Emperor's pilgrimage to Lumbini as the Buddha's birthplace. Another one of his edicts mentions the titles of several Dhamma texts, establishing the existence of a written Buddhist tradition at least by the time of the Maurya era; these texts may be the precursor of the Pāli Canon. "Sakamuni" in mentioned in the reliefs of Bharhut, dated to circa 100 BCE, in relation with his illumination and the Bodhi tree, with the inscription Bhagavato Sakamunino Bodho. The oldest surviving Buddhist manuscripts are the Gandhāran Buddhist texts, repor
Anuradhapura is a major city in Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of North Central Province, Sri Lanka and the capital of Anuradhapura District. Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sri Lankan civilization, it was the third capital of the kingdom of Rajarata, following the kingdoms of Tambapanni and Upatissa Nuwara. The city, now a World Heritage site, was the centre of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries; the city lies 205 km north of the current capital of Colombo in the North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu River. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka, it is believed that from the fourth century BCE until the beginning of the 11th century CE it was the capital of the Sinhalese. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centres of political power and urban life in South Asia; the ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over 16 square miles.
Protohistoric Iron AgeAlthough according to historical records the city was founded in the 5th century BC, the archaeological data put the date as far back as the 10th century BC. Little evidence was available about the period before the 5th century BC, though excavations have revealed information about the earlier inhabitants of the city. Further excavations in Anuradhapura have uncovered information about the existence of a protohistoric habitation of humans in the citadel; the protohistoric Iron Age, which spans from 900 to 600 BC, marked the appearance of iron technology, the horse, domestic cattle and paddy cultivation. In the time period 700 to 600 BC, the settlement in Anuradhapura had grown over an area of at least 50 hectares; the city was strategically situated of major ports northeast. It was surrounded by fertile land; the city was buried deep in the jungle providing natural defence from invaders. Lower Early Historic periodThe Lower Early Historic period, spanning from 500 to 250 BC, is studied on the lines of the chronicles.
During this time King Pandukabhaya formally planned the city, with quarters for traders etc.. The city at the time would have covered an area of 1 square kilometre, which would have made it one of the largest in the continent at the time; the layout of Anuradhapura as described in the Mahavamsa: He laid out four suburbs as well as the Abhaya-tank, the common cemetery, the place of execution, the chapel of the Queens of the West, the banyan-tree of Vessavana and the Palmyra-palm of the Demon of Maladies, the ground set apart for the Yonas and the house of the Great Sacrifice. A hermitage was made for many ascetics. On the further side of Jotiya's house and on this side of the Gamani tank, he built a monastery for wandering mendicant monks, a dwelling for the Ajivakas and a residence for the Brahmans, in this place and that he built a lying-in shelter and a hall for those recovering from sickness, it is believed that King Pandukabhaya made it his capital in the 4th century BC, that he laid out the town and its suburbs according to a well-organized plan.
He constructed a reservoir named Abhayavapi. He established shrines for yakkhas such as Cittaraja, he housed the Yaksini-Cetiya in the form of a mare within the royal precincts, offerings were made to all these demi-gods every year. He chose the sites for the cemetery and for the place of execution, the Chapel of the Western Queen, the Pacchimarajini, the Vessavana Banyan Tree, the Palm of the Vyadhadeva, the Yona Quarter and the House of the Great Sacrifice; the slaves or Candalas were assigned their duties, a village was set apart for them. They build dwellings for Niganthas, for Ajivakas and Brahmanas, he established, the village boundaries. The tradition that King Pandukabhaya made Anuradhapura the capital city of Sri Lanka as early as the 4th century BC had been important; the administrative and sanitary arrangements made for the city and the shrines he provided indicate that over the years, the city developed according to an original master plan. His son, succeeded to the throne. During his reign of sixty years, he maintained Anuradhapura as his capital and further laid out the Mahameghavahana Garden, to play an important role in the early history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
It was in the period of his successor, his son Devanampiya Tissa, that Buddhism was first introduced to this island 236 years after the passing away of the Buddha. Emperor Ashoka of India was a contemporary of Devanampiya Tissa. Mahinda was the son of Emperor Ashoka. Ashoka embraced Buddhism after he was inspired by a small monk named Nigrodha; the king, in great misery after seeing the loss of life caused by his waging wars to expand his empire, was struck by the peaceful countenance of such a young monk. Meeting this young monk made a turning point in his life and he thereafter, renounced wars, he was determined to spread the message of peace, to neutralize the effects from the damages caused by him through his warfare. As a result, both his son and daughter were ordained as Buddha disciples, became enlightened as Arahats. In his quest to spread the message of peace instead of war, he sent his son Mahinda, to the island of Lanka, known as “Sinhalé”. According to Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa, Thera Mahinda came to Sri Lanka from India on the full moon day of the month of Poson and met King Devanampiyat
Shravasti was a city of ancient India and one of the six largest cities in India during Gautama Buddha's lifetime. The city was located in the fertile Gangetic plains in the present-day district of the same name, that belongs to Devipatan division of Uttar Pradesh near Balrampur, some 170 kilometres north-east of Lucknow. Earlier, it was a part of the Bahraich district, but the latter was split due to administrative reasons. Shravasti is located near the West Rapti River and is associated with the life of Gautama Buddha, believed to have spent 24 Chaturmases here. Age-old stupas, majestic viharas and several temples near the village of "Sahet-Mahet" establish Buddha's association with Shravasti, it is said that the Vedic period king, founded this town. Shravasti was the capital of the Kosala Kingdom during 6th century BCE to 6th century CE; this prosperous trading centre was well known for its religious associations. Sobhanath temple is believed to be the birthplace of the Tirthankara Sambhavanath in Jainism, making Shravasti an important center for Jains as well.
According to Nagarjuna, the city had a population of 900,000 in 5th century BCE and it overshadowed Magadha's capital, Rajgir. As mentioned in the'Bruhatkalpa' and various Kalpas of the fourteenth century, the name of the city was Mahid. There are subsequent, it is mentioned that a vast fort covered this city in which there were many temples with idols of Devkulikas. Today a great rampart of brick surrounds this city. During excavation in'Sahet-Mahet' near Shravasti City, many ancient idols and inscriptions were found, they are now kept in museums at Lucknow. At present, the archaeological department of the Indian Government is excavating the site to perform allied research. Jetavana monastery was a famous monastery close to Shravasti, it is known as the main temple of Gautama Buddha. According to the Mahabharata, Shrawasti is named after the legendary king Shrawasta. According to Buddhist tradition, the city was called Savatthi; as per the Ramayana, the king of Kosala, installed his son Lava at Shrawasti and Kusha at Kushavati.
Shravasti was located on the banks of the river Achiravati. It was the capital city of the kingdom of Kosala, its king was called Pasenadi, a disciple of Buddha, it is a beautiful city with vast amounts of diversity. Buddhaghosa says that, in the Buddha's day, there were fifty-seven thousand families in Shravasti, that it was the chief city in the country of Kasi Kosala, three hundred leagues in extent and had eighty thousand villages, he stated the population of Shravasti to have been 180 million. The road from Rajagaha to Shravasti passed through Vesali, the Parayanavagga gives as the resting places between the two cities: Setavya, Kusinara and Bhoganagara. Further on, there was a road running southwards from Shravasti through Saketa to Kosambi. Between Saketa and Shravasti was located Toranavatthu; the Buddha passed the greater part of his monastic life in Shravasti. His first visit to Shravasti was at the invitation of Anathapindika; the main monasteries in Shravasti were the Pubbarama. Shravasti contained the monastery of Rajakarama, built by Pasenadi, opposite Jetavana.
Not far from the city was a dark forest called the Andhavana, where some monks and nuns went to live. Outside the city gate of Shravasti was a fisherman's village of five hundred families; the chief patrons of the Buddha in Shravasti were Anathapindika, Visakha and Pasenadi. When Bandhula left Vesali, he came to live in Shravasti. Woodward states; these suttas are made up of 6 in the Digha Nikaya, 75 in the Majjhima Nikaya, 736 in the Samyutta Nikaya, 54 in the Anguttara Nikaya. The Commentaries state that the Buddha spent twenty-five rainy seasons in Shravasti, thus leaving only twenty to be spent elsewhere. Of the 25 rainy seasons which Buddha lived in Shravasti, he spent 19 in the monastery named Jetavana, 6 in the monastery called Pubbarama. Thus, Shravasti is the place where Buddha lived the longest amount of time, it is the place where he gave the largest amount of discourses and instructions; the Chinese Pilgrim Xuanzang found the old city in ruins, but recorded the sites of various buildings.
The ruins at Saheth and Maheth on the boundaries of the Gonda and Bahreich districts of Uttar Pradesh are believed to be the site of ancient Shravasti. Maheth was the city-proper. Of the ancient Shravasti, the city walls are still standing. Within these, the remains of 3 ancient buildings can be visited: Angulimala's stupa, Anathapindika's stupa, an old temple dedicated to a Jain Tirthankara. Outside of Shravasti is located the stupa; the site of Jetavana monastery is the main pilgrim destination, with meditation and chanting done at the Gandhakuti and the Anandabodhi tree. Buddhist monasteries from the following countries have been constructed at Shravasti: Thailand, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and China. Entry on Savatthi in the Buddhist Dictionary of Pali Proper Names Description of Shravasti by the Chinese pilgrim monk Faxian Suttas spoken by Gautama Buddha concerning Shravasti: Angulimala Sutta - About Angulimala Maha-Rahulovada Sutta - The Greater Exhortation to Rahula"maps.google The place where Lord Buddha show Twin Miracle (P
A pilgrim is a traveler, on a journey to a holy place. This is a physical journey to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system. In the spiritual literature of Christianity, the concept of pilgrim and pilgrimage may refer to the experience of life in the world or to the inner path of the spiritual aspirant from a state of wretchedness to a state of beatitude. Pilgrims and the making of pilgrimages are common in many religions, including the faiths of ancient Egypt, Persia in the Mithraic period, India and Japan; the Greek and Roman customs of consulting the gods at local oracles, such as those at Dodona or Delphi, both in Greece, are known. In Greece, pilgrimages could either be state-sponsored. In the early period of Hebrew history, pilgrims traveled to Shiloh, Dan and Jerusalem. While many pilgrims travel toward a specific location, a physical destination is not always a necessity. One group of pilgrims in early Celtic Christianity were the Peregrinari Pro Christ, or "white martyrs", who left their homes to wander in the world.
This sort of pilgrimage was an ascetic religious practice, as the pilgrim left the security of home and the clan for an unknown destination, trusting in Divine Providence. These travels resulted in the founding of new abbeys and the spread of Christianity among the pagan population in Britain and in continental Europe. Many religions still espouse pilgrimage as a spiritual activity; the great Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, is an obligatory duty at least once for every Muslim, able to make the journey. Other Islamic devotional pilgrimages to the tombs of Shia Imams or Sufi saints, are popular across the Islamic world; as in the Middle Ages, modern Christian pilgrims may choose to visit Rome, where according to the New Testament the church was established by St. Peter, sites in the'Holy Land' connected with the life of Christ or places associated with saints and miracles such as Lourdes, Santiago of Compostela and Fatima. Places of pilgrimage in the Buddhist world include those associated with the life of the historical Buddha: his supposed birthplace and childhood home and place of enlightenment, other places he is believed to have visited and the place of his death, India.
Others include the many temples and monasteries with relics of the Buddha or Buddhist saints such as the Temple of the Tooth in Sri Lanka and the numerous sites associated with teachers and patriarchs of the various traditions. Hindu pilgrimage destinations may be holy cities. Beginning in 1894, Christian ministers under the direction of Charles Taze Russell were appointed to travel to and work with local Bible Students congregations for a few days at a time. International Bible Students Association pilgrims were excellent speakers, their local talks were well-publicized and well-attended. Prominent Bible Students A. H. Macmillan and J. F. Rutherford were both appointed pilgrims before they joined the board of directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. A modern phenomenon is the cultural pilgrimage which, while involving a personal journey, is secular in nature. Destinations for such pilgrims can include historic sites of national or cultural importance, can be defined as places "of cultural significance: an artist's home, the location of a pivotal event or an iconic destination".
An example might be a baseball fan visiting New York. Destinations for cultural pilgrims include Auschwitz concentration camp, Gettysburg Battlefield or the Ernest Hemingway House. Cultural pilgrims may travel on religious pilgrimage routes, such as the Way of St. James, with the perspective of making it a historic or architectural tour rather than – or as well as – a religious experience. Under communist regimes, devout secular pilgrims visited locations such as the Mausoleum of Lenin, the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong and the Birthplace of Karl Marx; such visits were sometimes state-sponsored. Sites such as these continue to attract visitors; the distinction between religious, cultural or political pilgrimage and tourism is not always clear or rigid. Pilgrimage could refer symbolically to journeys on foot, to places where the concerned person expect to find spiritual and/or personal salvation. In the words of adventurer-author Jon Krakauer in his book Into The Wild, Christopher McCandless was'a pilgrim perhaps' to Alaska in search of spiritual bliss.
Many national and international leaders have gone on pilgrimages for both personal and political reasons. Benedict XVI Bridget of Sweden Columba Rangjung Rigpe Dorje Egeria El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz Ruslan Gelayev Godric of Finchale Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama Ignatius of Loyola James, son
Ashoka, sometimes Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, who ruled all of the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. The grandson of the founder of the Maurya Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka promoted the spread of Buddhism. Considered by many to be one of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka expanded Chandragupta's empire to reign over a realm stretching from present-day Afghanistan in the west to Bangladesh in the east, it covered the entire Indian subcontinent except for parts of present-day Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The empire's capital was Pataliputra, with provincial capitals at Ujjain. Ashoka waged a destructive war against the state of Kalinga, which he conquered in about 260 BCE. In about 263 BCE, he converted to Buddhism after witnessing the mass deaths of the Kalinga War, which he had waged out of a desire for conquest and which directly resulted in more than 100,000 deaths and 150,000 deportations, he is remembered for the Ashoka pillars and edicts, for sending Buddhist monks to Sri Lanka and Central Asia, for establishing monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Gautama Buddha.
Beyond the Edicts of Ashoka, biographical information about him relies on legends written centuries such as the 2nd-century CE Ashokavadana, in the Sri Lankan text Mahavamsa. The emblem of the modern Republic of India is an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka, his Sanskrit name "Aśoka" means "painless, without sorrow". In his edicts, he is referred to as Devānāmpriya, Priyadarśin, his fondness for his name's connection to the Saraca asoca tree, or "Ashoka tree", is referenced in the Ashokavadana. In The Outline of History, H. G. Wells wrote, "Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history, their majesties and graciousnesses and serenities and royal highnesses and the like, the name of Ashoka shines, shines alone, a star." Ashoka was born to the Mauryan emperor and Subhadrangī. He was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Maurya dynasty, born in a humble family, with the counsel of Chanakya built one of the largest empires in ancient India.
According to Roman historian Appian, Chandragupta had made a "marital alliance" with Seleucus. An Indian Puranic source, the Pratisarga Parva of the Bhavishya Purana described the marriage of Chandragupta with a Greek princess, daughter of Seleucus; the ancient Buddhist and Jain texts provide varying biographical accounts. The Avadana texts mention that his mother was queen Subhadrangī. According to the Ashokavadana, she was the daughter of a Brahmin from the city of Champa, she gave him the name Ashoka, meaning "one without sorrow". The Divyāvadāna tells a similar story, but gives the name of the queen as Janapadakalyānī. Ashoka had several elder siblings, all of whom were his half-brothers from the other wives of his father Bindusara. Ashoka was given royal military training; the Buddhist text Divyavadana describes Ashoka putting down a revolt due to activities of wicked ministers. This may have been an incident in Bindusara's times. Taranatha's account states that Chanakya, Bindusara's chief advisor, destroyed the nobles and kings of 16 towns and made himself the master of all territory between the eastern and the western seas.
Some historians consider this as an indication of Bindusara's conquest of the Deccan while others consider it as suppression of a revolt. Governor of UjainFollowing this, Ashoka was stationed at Ujain, the capital of Malwa, as governor. A commemorative inscription found in Saru Maru, Madhya Pradesh, mentions the visit of Piyadasi as he was still an unmarried Prince; this inscription confirms Ashoka's presence in Madhya Pradesh as a young man, his status while he was there. Bindusara's death in 272 BCE led to a war over succession. According to the Divyavadana, Bindusara wanted his elder son Susima to succeed him but Ashoka was supported by his father's ministers, who found Susima to be arrogant and disrespectful towards them. A minister named; the Ashokavadana recounts Radhagupta's offering of an old royal elephant to Ashoka for him to ride to the Garden of the Gold Pavilion where King Bindusara would determine his successor. Ashoka got rid of the legitimate heir to the throne by tricking him into entering a pit filled with live coals.
Radhagupta, according to the Ashokavadana, would be appointed prime minister by Ashoka once he had gained the throne. The Dipavansa and Mahavansa refer to Ashoka's killing 99 of his brothers, sparing only one, named Vitashoka or Tissa, although there is no clear proof about this incident; the coronation happened in four years after his succession to the throne. Buddhist legends state, he built Ashoka's Hell, an elaborate torture chamber described as a "Paradisal Hell" due to the contrast between its beautiful exterior and the acts carried out within by his appointed executioner, Girikaa. This earned him the name of Chanda Ashoka meaning "Ashoka the Fierce" in Sanskrit. Professor Charles Drekmeier cautions that the Buddhist legends tend to dramatise the change that Buddhism brought in him, theref
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is a sacred fig tree in the Mahamewna Gardens, Sri Lanka. It is said to be the southern branch from the historical Sri Maha Bodhi at Buddha Gaya in India under which Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment, it was planted in 288 BC, is the oldest living human-planted tree in the world with a known planting date. Today it is one of the most sacred relics of the Buddhists in Sri Lanka and respected by Buddhists all over the world; the other fig trees that surround the sacred tree protect it from storms and animals such as monkeys, etc. In April 2014, the government banned all construction within 500 meters of the tree. Only construction that will not harm the tree will be allowed. Buddhists in the Island have had a practice of visiting and paying homage to the most sacred Bodhi tree since time immemorial, it is an annual custom for pilgrims from far-away villages to visit the city of Anuradhapura and to pay homage to the Sri Maha Bodhi. The caretaker of this site provides various offerings on a daily basis since time immemorial.
The Buddhists in general have a strong belief that offerings made to the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi have produced significant and positive changes in their life. It has been customary for many Buddhists to make a special vow before the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi for the safe delivery of their babies without malformations, to cure various ailments and for many other cures, it has been a long tradition among farmers around Anuradhapura to offer the Sri Maha Bodhi tree the rice prepared from their first paddy harvest. They believe that such offerings lead to a sustained paddy production with the least sufferings from drought, pest attacks including elephant damage. In the 3rd century BC, it was brought to Sri Lanka by Sangamitta Theri, the daughter of Emperor Asoka and founder of an order of Buddhist nuns in Sri Lanka. In 288 BC it was planted by King Devanampiya Tissa on a high terrace about 6.5 m above the ground in the Mahamevnāwa Park in Anuradhapura and surrounded by railings. Several ancient kings have contributed in developing this religious site.
King Vasabha placed four Buddha statues in four side of the sacred tree. King Voharika Tissa added metallic statues. King Mahanaga constructed a water canal around the sacred tree and King Sena II renovated it; the present wall was constructed by Ilupandeniye Athtadassi Thero during the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha, to protect it from wild elephants which might have damaged the tree. The height of the wall is 10 ft; the first golden fence around the sacred tree was constructed by some Buddhist followers in Kandy under the guidance of Yatirawana Narada Thero in 1969. The iron fence below the above golden fence was created by people of Gonagala under the guidance of Yagirala Pannananda Thero. Two statues of Lord Buddha can be seen in the image-house; the cobra-stone is a rare creation, showing the embossed figure of cobra. Several monolith heads with plain incisions are in this religious site. Ruins of an ancient building called Mayura Pirivena have been found to the south-west of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, the ruins of a stupa called Dakkhina Tupa can be seen nearby.
According to the ancient chronicles in Sri Lanka, some walls and terraces had been built surrounding the sacred tree at some time in the past. Mahavamsa states. Dipavamsa reports that a rock-laid terrace and a lattice wall was built by King Kirthi Sri Meghavarna. During excavation for reconstructing the present wall, the rubble wall with its foundation created by King Gotabhya, the rock-laid terrace together with a lattice wall constructed by King Kirthi Sri Meghavarna were found; these were preserved at place, were opened to public in January 2010. Two branches of the sacred tree were broken during separate storms in 1907 and 1911. An individual cut down a branch in 1929. LTTE shot and massacred a number of Sinhales-Buddhists on the upper terrace in 1985; this incident is known as the Anuradhapura massacre. Bodhi tree Buddhist pilgrimage Sanghamitta Anuradhapura massacre Mahabodhivamsa Discover Sri Lanka - more information & images about Sri Maha Bodhi Living Heritage - Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi UNESCO World Heritage - Sacred City of Anuradhapura Sri Maha Bodhi tourist site The Bodhi Tree Network - Listing of branches/saplings of the Bodhi Tree around the world, cultivation tips of Bo tree, how to share Bodhi trees Buddha and the Bodhi tree