Gautam Buddha's ashes in Darjeeling


Senior Member
Aug 13, 2009
Gautam Buddha's ashes in Darjeeling
Deep Gazmer, TNN 7 November 2009, 02:32am IST

DARJEELING: It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the people of the Hills, especially the Buddhists. The ashes of Gautam Buddha have been
brought to Darjeeling from Bodh ***a and will be on display for the people from Saturday to Monday at the Gorkha Ranga Manch, near Mall Road.

The Dharma Chakra Committee (DCC) of Darjeeling brought the casket containing the ashes of Buddha to the Druk-Sa-Ngag Choeling monastery near Dali on Friday. The ashes of his first disciples -- Sariputra and Maha Mogallana -- have also been brought.

Though many Buddhists make a pilgrimage to Bodh ***a, where Buddha was enlightened, few know that his ashes are also preserved. "This is a big opportunity for those who cannot make it to Bodh ***a, to take Buddha's blessings," said Gautam Tamang, joint secretary of DCC.

The casket containing Buddha's ashes was discovered in 1930 by the archeological department of Sri Lanka during the excavation of the Mahiangana Stupa. It had been taken to the Mullegamma Temple at Asgiriya in Kandy for daily worship. At the request of the Maha Bodhi Society of India's Buddha***a Centre, it was brought to the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Vihara to commemorate the 2550th Buddha Jayanti in 2006. Since then, it has been kept there.

On Friday afternoon, the caskets were brought to Darjeeling from New Jalpaiguri station amid tight security. Four `bhantes' (Buddhist monks) from Bodh ***a Maha Bodhi Society of India are accompanying the caskets. Three of them are guarding the caskets round the clock.

This is the first time the ashes of Buddha and his disciples will be on display. "It was really nice of the Society to have the caskets displayed in Darjeeling. For us Buddhist, it is a blessing," said Tshering Dorjee, member of the Maha Bodhi Society Committee.

The three caskets have been insured for Rs 1.80 crore. The intricately-designed caskets -- which are shaped like stupas -- are made of gold and adorned with precious stones and gems. The lamas of Dali monastery performed a special puja before unveiling the caskets, which were wrapped in red and yellow cloth. On Saturday, the caskets will be thrown open for the public. Besides the ashes of Buddha and his disciples, other relics and artifacts preserved at the Dali monastery will also be displayed.

As news of the arrival of Buddha's ashes spread, people thronged the Dali monastery from Friday morning to catch a glimpse of the casket and offer `khadas' (Tibetan scarves). "I had gone to Bodh ***a once many years back with my family, but I did not know that his and the disciples' ashes were kept," said Tenzin Gyatso.

Those who had stayed back in Darjeeling after the enthronement of Gwalpa Rimpoche II a few days back, could not believe their luck. "I am from Dehradun and had come to Darjeeling for the enthronement. My decision to stay back a couple of more days has come as a blessing," said Lata Bhutia.

After Darjeeling, the caskets will be taken to the Triratna Buddhist Monastery near Salbari in Sukna for display. From there, they will be taken back to Bodh ***a on November 13.

Gautam Buddha's ashes in Darjeeling - India - The Times of India

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