REVIVAL OF BUDDHISM IN INDIA

 

Throughout history, monuments to the Buddha have been created to inspire humanity. Keeping alive this tradition, a huge pagoda (stupa) about 325 feet tall is being built at Gorai, a suburb of Mumbai (Bombay) the commercial capital of India. Its purpose is to generate widespread awareness of the Buddha and his teachings to the commercial world of ignorance in which the wants and materialistic consumerism is overtaking the need of spiritualism. This magnificent pagoda will have the genuine Buddha Relics enshrined at the center of a large central hall where about 10,000 students can sit around the Relics and meditate jointly, getting the spiritual advantage from the Relics. Just as the Tooth Relic temple at kandy in Sri Lanka and the Shwedagon pagoda of Yangoon (Burma) this Stupa with the genuine Relics enshrined, will become a centre of tremendous attraction for the devotees of the Buddha around the world to come and pay their respect to the Relics. Visitors, while marveling the architectural and engineering splendor will be drawn to various informative galleries exhibiting the actual historical life of the Buddha. The Stupa will be a vehicle for the spread of the Buddha’s true teachings along with a display of exquisite ancient Indian art and cultural heritage. The complex project is spread over an area of 17 acres. The basic structure will be on a 60 feet big raised platform with another four 60 feet high peripheral pagodas. Exhibition rooms spread over 15,000 sq. feet will display important incidents from Lord Buddha’s life using three dimensional story telling techniques along with state of the art audio-visual systems highlighting the important teachings of Lord Buddha.

 

Apart from this monumental development, a historic, social and religious development took place between the two ancient major traditions of India.

 

On 11th November 1999 at Maha Bodhi Society office, Sarnath in India, both H.H. Jagadguru Sankaracharya Shri Jayendra Sarswati of Kanchi Kamakoti and Vipassana Acharya Shri Satyanarayana Goenka after having a mutual discussion, gave a joint communiqué agreeing on the following three points.

 

 

 

1-     Due to whatever reason some literature was written in India in the past in which the Buddha was declared to be a re-incarnation of Vishnu and other various false things about him, this was very unpleasant. In order to foster friendlier ties between Hindus and Buddhists we decide that whatever has happened in the past should be forgotten and such belief should not be propagated.

2-     To forever remove this misconception we declare that both Vedic and Samana are ancient traditions of India (Vishnu belongs to the vedic tradition and Buddha belongs to the Samana tradition). Any attempt by one tradition to show it higher than the other will only generate hatred and ill will between the two. Hence such a thing should not be done in future and both traditions should be accorded equal respect and esteem.

3-     Any body can attain high position in the society by doing good deeds. One becomes a low person in society if one does evil deeds. Hence anybody by doing good deeds and removing the defilement’s such as passion, anger, arrogance, ignorance, greed, jealousy and ego can attain a high position in society and enjoy peace and happiness.

 

Agreeing on all the three points mentioned above both of them wished that all people of India from all traditions should have cordial relations and the neighboring Buddhist countries should have friendly relation with India.

This above joint declaration given by both eminent personalities paves a smooth way to the revival of Buddhism in India, which was earlier hindered by partial attitude, religious intolerance, caste differences and misconceptions thereby spreading hatred among people of the same native land India.

 

The first visible revival of Buddhism in India started with Anagarika Dharmapala, who founded the Maha Bodhi Society of India in 1891, which located the historic sacred sites sanctified by Buddha’s presence and protected these places for the benefit of people. This society maintains those places of Buddhist worship with deep devotion.

 

Then it was Dr. B.R.Ambedkar, the architect of Indian constitution who along with more than 600,000 of his followers embraced Buddhism at Nagpur in India on 14th of october (Ashoka Vijaya Dashmi) in the year 1956.

 

Again it was in the year 1955 that Shri Satyanarayana Goenka took his first Vipassana meditation course in Yangoon (Burma) and unknowingly got committed to work for the spread of Buddha’s Dhamma throughout India and the world through his ten day vipassana meditation courses with its secular flavor, non-sectarian ingredients and universal appeal, which is unique to the Buddha’s teaching.

 

Last but not the least is the Burmese belief come true. It is said by S.N. Goenka himself that among the section of Burmese people their was a strong belief that after 2500 years of the Buddhist era the Dhamma will go back to India from Burma and then spread throughout the world and coincidentally this 2500th year of Buddhist era fell on the year 1956- The second turning of the wheel of Dhamma.

 

Now in India Buddhism is a democratic, social, and spiritual movement. May it be so throughout the world paving way for the suffering humanity towards contentment, peace and happiness. Thus Dr. B.R. Ambedkar rightly said that Buddhism is a democratic movement, which upholds democracy in religion, democracy in society and democracy in politics.

 

Buddhism is like an Ocean

          With

SILA as its boundary

SAMADHI as its depth

PANYA as its taste

NIBBANA as its pearl                                                                       

MAY ALL GAIN THE PEARL CALLED NIBBANA.

Ven. Bhikkhu Vinayarakkhita
Dharmayatanaya, Maharagama.