The Eight Great Places of Buddhist Pilgrimage by Chan Khoon San

The Eight Great Places of Buddhist Pilgrimage

Title: The Eight Great Places of Buddhist Pilgrimage
Author: Chan Khoon San
Edition: 2018
Language: English
Length:‎ 144 pages

About the Author
PART I: Introduction

  1. Mental Aspects of a Pilgrimage
    1.1 A Journey of Faith and Devotion
    1.2 Development of Perfections (Paramis)
    1.3 Taking the Eight Precepts during Pilgrimage
    1.4 Fellowship and Patience during Pilgrimage
    1.5 Arousing Religious Urgency during Pilgrimage
  2. The Four Places of Pilgrimage
    2.1 The Four Places of Miracles, with Vaishali as the Place
    where the Buddha Renounced the Will to Live on
    2.2 The Stupa as the Supreme Object of Worship
    2.3 Map of India showing the Eight Places of Pilgrimage
    2.4 Tourist Map of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh
    2.5 Mental Attitude when Visiting the Holy Shrines
  3. Famous Pilgrims of the Past
  4. Decline and Downfall of Buddhism in India
    4.1. The Fatal Blow
  5. The Revival of Buddhism in India
  6. The Pioneers of Buddhist Revival in India

PART II: The Four Places of Pilgrimage

  1. Lumbini, Birthplace of the Buddha
  2. Bodhgaya, Place of the Supreme Enlightenment
  3. Sarnath, Place of the First Sermon
  4. Kushinagar, Place of the Mahaparinibbana (Great Decease) 79

PART III: The Four Places of Miracles

  1. Sravasti, Place of the Twin Miracle
  2. Sankasia, Place of Descent from Heaven
  3. Rajgir, Place of Taming the Drunken Elephant Nalagiri 115
  4. Vaishali, Place of Renunciation of the Will to Live on 129

PART IV: Pilgrimage Groups from 2011-2016
Rejoicing and Sharing of Merits and Names of Donors

For the majority of Buddhists, going on a pilgrimage to the holy places mentioned by the Buddha, is a once-a-lifetime undertaking. With so much time, money and effort involved, it is imperative for the intending pilgrim to truly understand what a pilgrimage is all about, especially the mental aspect, since the physical part is normally taken care of by a travel company.

A pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred place as an act of faith and devotion. In the scriptures, faith or saddha is the professing of confidence in and the sense of assurance based on understanding that one places on the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. It is not the blind belief based on wrong view. As ignorance is the leader of immoral mental states, so saddha is the leader of moral mental states because its chief characteristic is the purification of the mind.

Thus the pilgrim is no ordinary tourist who travels for the pleasure of sightseeing and enjoyment. Unlike sensual delights, the sight of the holy shrines do not arouse craving but act as a condition for wholesome mental states to arise in the pilgrim’s mind. The Buddha himself advised us to visit those places where he was born, where he attained Enlightenment, where he preached the First Sermon and where he passed into Mahaparinibbana, and look upon them with feelings of reverence.

As more and more Buddhists begin to realize the importance of performing a pilgrimage following the Buddha’s exhortation, the need for a simple guidebook becomes evident.”

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