4 March 2015

‘Māgha Pūja’ Day

Today marks the historical occasion where the Buddha preached the ‘Ovada Patimokkha’ – the summary of His Teachings – at the famed Veluvana Monastery in Rājagaha more than 2,600 years ago.  The Buddha taught the spontaneous gathering of 1,250 Arahant bhikkhus the outline of Dhamma practice – “To abandon evil; cultivate virtues; and to purify one’s own mind”.

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19 January 2015

Meeting Māra on the bank of Nerañjara

After almost six years of painful and ultimately futile austerities, Siddhattha Gotama abandoned the practice of self-mortification that did not lead to liberation from suffering.  He then came to the bank of Nerañjara River, to the village of Senanigāma.

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11 January 2015

Siddhattha Gotama’s Stupendous Struggle

After leaving Rajagaha, Siddhattha Gotama went to the vicinity of Uruvela to further his cultivation towards liberation.  There, He was joined by five ascetics in the practice of extreme abstinence from food, rest, and any semblance of comfort, in the belief that such self-mortification can lead to the liberation of the mind from craving and clinging.

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15 December 2014

Rājagaha – Ancient Capital of Magadha

In the 7th Century BCE, Rājagaha (modern-day Rajgir) was the old capital city of Magadha Kingdom.  During the reign of King Bimbisara, it was one of the largest cities in the world.  King Bimbisara was a good administrator and a generous, spiritual person.  Thus, many religious and meditation teachers of the day were attracted to Rājagaha due to his munificent support.

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9 December 2014

Kapilavatthu – Home-town of Siddhattha Gotama

In the 7th Century BCE, Kapilavatthu was the capital of Sakka (also spelled ‘Sakya’) Kingdom, a small but prosperous principality south of the Himalayas rich in agriculture.   The most famous king to have reigned there was King Suddhodana and his consort Queen Māyādevī, who were the parents of Prince Siddhattha Gotama (who later became Sakyamuni Buddha).

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2 December 2014

Lumbini – the birthplace of Siddhattha Gotama

Lumbini Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in Nepal, just 26km from the border with India.  It is an important pilgrimage destination for Buddhists along with Bodhgaya, Sarnath, and Kusinara, because Prince Siddhattha Gotama (who later became Sakyamuni Buddha) was born there in 623 BCE.

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17 November 2014

Nālandā – the World’s first University

The ruins of the majestic ‘Nālandā Māha Vihāra’ stands proudly in the State of Bihar, India.  Even in its present derelict condition, the large foundations and thick walls of its structures still inspire awe in the thousands of people who visit it annually.

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8 September 2014

How the ‘Bhikkhunī’ Order came about

Today is the full-moon day for the month of ‘Potthapāda’ (or ‘Binara’ [ බිනර ] in Sinhalese).  According to Sri Lankan Theravada tradition, this day commemorates the occasion where the Buddha allowed the ordination of ‘bhikkhunīs’ (women renunciates), and thus is a very important anniversary.

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2 September 2014

Nālandā University revived after 800 years

817 years after its appalling destruction in 1197 CE, the ancient university of ‘Nālandā’ has been revived when classes started yesterday in Rajgir, Bihar State, India.  The latest incarnation of ‘Nālandā University’ opened with a low-key ceremony.  With only 15 students and a few faculty members, it has a lot more growth to achieve to even come close to its heydays 1,300 years ago, where an estimated 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers came from every corner of Asia to acquire knowledge and wisdom at the world’s premier university! Read more

4 April 2014

What burning ‘paper money’ really meant

During a funeral ceremony in ancient China, paper-made models of houses, sedan chairs, treasure chests, clothes, daily utensils, and even effigies of servants, were burnt as the cortege was leaving home for burial in the cemetery.

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