Monday, January 5, 2015

Buddhist Monasteries in Bodhgaya

Budhagaya is a sanctuary for a different Buddhist cultures, across
the world. Several Buddhist temples and monasteries are there
belonging to Bhutan, China, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri-Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam in a wide area around Mahabodhi Mahavihar.

These temples and monasteries reflects the architecture style, exterior and interior decoration of their respective countries.You may wonder at the mind-boggling endless creativity of presenting a uniform set of philosophical and religious tenets.

These monasteries also have guest houses for monks and visitor.

 If we recall the history, Shri-Lanka was the first country who had established a monastery(Sangharam) in Bodhgaya during the the Empire of Samudragupt(335-375). The monastery was established chiefly for the use of Singhalese monks who used to come to Bodhgaya for their worship. But,  then, there is vast blank till 19th century.

 Mahabodhi Monastery - The Mahabodhi Society of India was founded by Shri Lankan Buddhiist monk Anagarika Dhammapala in may 1891. in intention to restore the Buddhism in India. 

For this,  he founded the society's first Center at Bodhgaya and then at Sarnath, Sanchi, Lucknow, Orisa, New Delhi, Chennai, Ajmer, Bangulure etc.

Anagarika Dhammapala was the first Buddhist monk who made known the world Buddhist countries that their religious shrine at Bodhgaya is under Hindu Panda's grip.

Presently, Ven. Dr. D. Rewatha Thero is General Secretary of this Buddhist Organisation

Thai Monastery-
It was built by the King of Thailand in the 1956 to commemorate 2500th Buddha Jayanti on the request of Pt. Jawaharlal Neharu, the then Indian Prime Minister to strenthen the relation of two countries.

It is unique and only Thai temple in India. This belongs to Theravada school of thought.

This temple display the elegance of the Thai architecture. The temple is adorned with sloping and curved roof which is covered with golden tiles.

The temple insides are painted in gold all over. Beautiful carvings and paintings are in typical Thai style. A series of painting are attractive depicting the important events of Buddha's life.
A beautifully carved gigantic bronze statue of Buddha is enshrined in the hall. Their Website-

Vien Giac Institute(Vietnamese Monastery)-

It is just behind of Kaalchakra Maidan. It was established in 2002. It belongs to Lin Tzi Zen Tradition.

The one pillar temple at the entrance represent the symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism.
A statue of Avalokitesvara is enshrined in the temple.

On the third floor, there is a prayer hall with the Buddha of three times 'Amitabha of the past, Sakyamuni of the present and Maitreya of the future. In the temple, there are the statues of Eighteen Arhatas also.

The monastery is beautiful having Vietnamese architecture and tradition. Temple inner walls are covered with finest arts

Bhutanese Monastery- It is one of the magnificent monastery in Bodhgaya. It is spread on vast area of land. Three Buddha statues of golden color, are enshrined inside of the temple. 

 The temple is beautifully decorated. It's ceiling and wall are artistically decorated with many colors.

The architect of the temple reflect Bhutanese culture and tradition. The inner walls of the temple is depicted the life of Lord Buddha in Clay Carving.

The monastery and its vast premises is very greenery and peaceful. Royal guest house is also in the premises.

In a double storied building at front,  along the entrance, Hundred and thousands 'Diyas'(small clay/brass  pot with cotton wick dipped in ghee)  are lit there. Indian Buddhist,  after Ambedkar conversion, does not celebrate Deepawali, though it appears Buddhist festival as illustrated in Buddhist scripture 'Ashokavadaan' and 'Mahavansha'.

Taiwan Monastery - This monastery is run by Taiwan World Chonghwa Buddhist Sangha. It is just behind the Chinese monastery. Taiwan has great impression of Chinese culture over its tradition. It has a guest house like the other monasteries.

Taiwan Monastery has a beautiful temple. Laughing Buddha statue is enshrined in sanctum along with two Guards one male and other female,  standing on either sides.

All three golden statues are splendidly placed in the temple. Outside in gallery, a Buddha statue in austerity posture is installed. Visitor may acknowledge the impressive Taiwan architecture while wandering the monastery.
   Laughing Buddha's inception is said,  to be belongs to Chinese tales and stories. However, this fat, bald and jolly character represents wealth and happiness but, it's connection with Lord Buddha, a symbol of Peace and Compassion; is a matter of research.

Nepali Temang Buddhist Monastery-  This monastery belongs to Mahayana School of thought.

It is just back side of All India Bhikkhus Monastery. Here,  we  had stayed during our Bodhgaya visit (Dec. 02 to 12, 2014).

Mr Kumar,  caretaker of the Monastery had showed his generosity and gave two rooms for us.

All India Bhikkhus Sangh Monastery-

This is Indian Monastery belongs to All India Bhikkhus Sangh.

A beautiful standing Buddha statue is in the premises of this monastery.

Daijokyo Buddhist temple - Daijokyo is a society of lay Buddhist in Japan. It was founded by Reverend Tatsuko Sugiyama  just 100 years ago, in 1914.

Diajokyo Japanese temple
Close  view of Diajokyo temple
Daijokyo temple is situated next to the Karamapa Monastery. It was established in 1983. The temple is a two storied building with a three storied  pagoda on the top.

Interior of the Daijokyo temple
This beautiful temple is
designed reflecting Japanese style of architecture .

The main statue of Buddha,  made of gold is enshrined inside the temple. It is in the meditation posture.

  Indosan Nipponji Japanese monastery (2)- This is another Japanese Buddhist temple in Bodhgaya. It was inaugurated in 1973. It's architecture is unique and reflect Japanese culture and tradition.

The temple inner walls are depicted the important life events of Buddha in very decorative with Japanese art.

(1) Karma Tharjay Chokhorling Tibetan Monastery- This is one of three Tibetan monasteries in Bodhgaya. Some countries have more than one sects of Buddhist traditions.This
belongs to Vajrayana Sect of tradition. It was established by Tibetan Buddhist monk Karma Tharjay Chokhorling.
Karma Tharjay monastery situated just beside of Daijokyo Japanese temple. This was opened some fifteen years ago.

The main building houses a temple with frescoes on the life of the Buddha painted. Another attached building provides residence quarters for monks and staying visitors. The monks study and perform rituals and prayers.

 It's  lively and exquisite design is remarkable. It is beautifully decorated inside and outside. The exterior features wonderful wall painting as does the inside depicting Buddha life. The Buddha statue is in golden color and very divine. The unique and intricate design of the door handle is beautiful.

Buddha Maitraya statue
(2) Tibetan Gandhen Phelgye Ling Monastery- This is second Tibetan monastery. It was built by Tibetan Buddhist monk Ven. Ngawang Samten in 1934.

It is a Buddhist Mahayana sect of Monastery. 'Tantra', 'Mantra' and 'Jantra' are taught to students here. In the monastery premises, a vast guest house is attached.

Buddha(Maitreya) statue is inside of temple along three complete sets of Buddha discourses. Maitreya is the forthcoming Buddha,  as believed.

A 'Dhammachakra-Wheel', very big size,  10 M high metal drum is enshrined inside of the temple. In the Mahayana thought of school, monk and lay may be see spinning this 'Mani Kholo'. Kholo mans Drum and Mani means 'Mantra'. While paying homage,  you have to spin this Dhammachakra Wheel atleatst 3 time, left to right. 

(3) Nyingma Shechen Monastery -This monastery was build by a
Chinese Buddhist monk Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche in 1996.

It belongs to Nyingma school of Buddhism in Tibet. 

The monastery comprises a beautiful Buddhist temple and a golden color Stupa.

The golden statue of Buddha is 200 years old and was brought from China.
There are residential quarters also there to live monks and other visitors. The monastery complex shares its boundery wall with the Chinese temple

Bangladesh Monastery -  It is on the main road located at Thai monastery. One can see the sitting Lord Buddha statue from a mile away.

Buddha is seated on a beautifully designed lotus flower. The rays comes from face of the Lord Buddha gives the visitor a massage of Peace and Compassion.

The hall of the temple is very impressive. Buddha statues in various pose are placed and decorated in such a way that visitor would have to sit there for a while.

To see a grant and magnificent Buddha statue in front of Bangaladesh monastery,  one could not think about what happened recently in that country. More than a dozen of Buddha statues/ temples are destroyed by Muslim vandalism after learning the posting by the presumed Buddhist.

Myanmar Buddhist monastery -This Burmese Buddhist monastery is unique in style and art. It reflect Burmese architecture and tradition. At the bank of river Neranjana, it was established by Ven.U. Nandoomala in 1936.
The monastery has two halls. Each hall have the magnificent statue of Lord Buddha.

Like other monasteries, it also have guest house. Visitors may stay there.

During visiting, you may find yourself here in a different spiritual environment.

Chinese Monastery- This monastery reflects Chinese architectural style of work. The gate is very unique, designed with lions sitting.

Three beautifully carved identical Buddha statues in sitting posture,  are enshrined in the hall.

The monastery was built by a Chinese Buddhist monk Sitingchen in 1945.

Great Buddha Statue -
 The great Buddha Statue, ('Daibustu' in Japanese) in meditation pose is installed on 18 Nov. 1989. The Daijokyo sect of Nagoyo Japanese Buddhism erected this great Buddha statue seated on lotus in open air.Tibetan Dhamma Guru Dalai Lama has inaugurated the statue on 18 Nov. 1989.

The statue is made of red granite and sandstone blocks.

The height of the statue is 82 feet having lotus of 6 feet and pedestal  10 feet. Around the main statue of Buddha, there are other ten standing statues of the great disciples of Lord Buddha in the premises. It took 7 years to complete the work.

Cambodian Buddhist monastery-
Cambodian temple at the entrance
This monastery is under construction as may be seen from this collected pic.

But, we have seen a beautiful Cambodian Buddhist temple,  just aside the entrance of Mahabodhi Vihara. This is small but very beautiful temple.

Cambodia is enriched with Buddhist art and tradition since the era of great Ashoka.

Dhamma Bodhi Inernational Vipassana center-

Dhamma Bodhi is the one of the Vipassana center in Bodhgaya. It was established by S. N. Goenka (1924-2013) around the world. Residential meditation courses are held here through out the year. Cells(quarters) are made with necessary facilities.

Goenka led Vipassana in India and abroad,  is so popular that, irrespective of caste and creed, people who raised somewhat above their poverty and pathetic social strata,  want to do this courses.

But, Rajshekhar, the editor of 'Dalit Voice' think somewhat otherwise. He is against Vipassana. He says,  'Every Indian dalit should have boiling blood to face inhumanities and discrimination, what they have been facing since long, but 'Vipassana made them cool.

Tergar Monastery -

This is a 3rd Tibetan monastery in Bodhgaya. It is in outskirt, approx. 30 Km away form Bodhgaya.

It was established by Mingyur Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist
monk in 2007. The aim of this monastery is to transform individual's suffering into joy through meditation.
Korean Monastery- Buddhism was spread in Korea during the begining of 4rth era.

Hotels and other Gueest Houses in Bodhgaya -
While wandering in Bodhgaya, we find numerous  Hotel and other guest houses naming ' Hotel Sujata', ' Hotel Nirnajana', 'Hotel Mahamaya Palace', 'Hotel Mahayana', 'Hotel Buddha International', 'Hotel Tathagata International', 'Hotel Bodhgaya Gautam'  'Rahul Guest House', 'Sambodhi Retreat' etc. of. having 2, 3 to 4 stars facilities.


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