Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and Buddhism

“Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.”

Vesak is a full moon day tonight! Always associated with the grand celebrations we saw during the six years in Singapore. At several public places, it’s a carnival-like atmosphere, where thousands gather to celebrate the birth, enlightenment and death of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. (All on the same day.)

In 2007, Ngee-Ann City fountain on Orchard Road was one of the venues. We lived just around the corner and saw the place being setup over a few days. When finished, it was so very beautiful. Engaging for both the young and old, yet filled with the dignity and peace of the Buddha.

Vesak in SG 2007
Siddharth at Vesak in Singapore, May 2007

About ten years ago, Srivathsa did a Buddhist tour, with a few friends. He recalls that the guide said, “Siddhartha Gautama was born in Lumbini, the Buddha was born in Bodh Gaya and Buddhism was born in Sarnath.” 

Pictures by Srivathsa, taken at various locations in November 2009.

Lumbini is the place where, according to Buddhist tradition, Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama in 563 BCE.

Lumbini pillar
Mayadevi Temple in Lumbini, where an Ashokan Pillar marks the exact spot of birth
inside the temple
Inside the Mayadevi Temple
Pushkarini tank
The Pushkarini or Temple Tank, where Mayadevi took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where the baby had his first bath

Bodh Gaya is the place where Siddhartha Gautama is said to have attained enlightenment.

The Mahabodhi Temple as seen from Sujata Village, with Niranjana River bed in the foreground

Sujata Village is close to Bodh Gaya, and named after the girl who offered kheer to Siddhartha Gautama when he went wandering there, reduced to a skeleton.

mahabodhi temple
The Mahabodhi Temple marks the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment
outside mahabodhi
Outside the Mahabodhi Temple
great buddha bodh gaya
The Great Buddha, Daijokyo Temple, Bodh Gaya
dhamek stupa sarnath
The Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath where the Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment
sarnath monasteries
Monasteries in Sarnath

Kushinagar is the most important pilgrimage centre for Buddhists, because the Buddha took his last breath at this place.

Parinirvana Temple with the Parinirvana Stupa, Kushinagar
dying buddha
The Dying Buddha, Parinirvana Stupa, Kushinagar
stupa buddha funeral
The Buddha’s cremation stupa, Kushinagar – Ramabhar Stupa was built over a portion of the Buddha’s ashes on the spot where he was cremated
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.” – The Buddha
Our little Buddhas, Gautam and Siddharth, Nov 2007

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