Stupa of Parinirvana

This stupa symbolizes the state of mind that the Buddha entered after his death between two sal trees in Kushinagar when he was Eighty years old. The main body of this stupa is bell-shaped and is a symbol of Buddha's perfect wisdom.

Is characterized by its circular bell shaped dome which rests directly on the circular base of the ten virtues with no ascending steps. Usually  this bell-shaped dome is not ornamented, except occasionally when the base or the mouth of the dome is decorated with an ornate ring of inscribed circles. Its simplicity and the absence of steps symbolized the Buddha's complete absorption into parinirvana.

Dimensions:

Total height      37,5 cm

Base width      18,2 cm

Internal volume        1,25 litters

Weight:

Without filling approx.   4,4 kg

Material:

Ceramic mass - artificial stone

Kusinagara - place of entered parinirvana

"Lord, there are the six great cities of Sravasti, Saketa, Campa, Varanasi, Vaisali, and Rajagrha, and others besides; why then has the Blessed One seen fit to reject these and to decide to die in this poor village, this sand-hole, this straggling village, this suburb, this semblance of a town?"

 - Múlasarvástivádin Vinaya

In the reply to his disciple's impassioned question, the Buddha explained to Ananda the reason for his decision. Long ago, there was a king named Mahasudarsana, who ruled with righteousness. Kusinagara, then known as Kesavati, was his capital city, thirty-six miles from east to west and twenty-seven miles from north to south. In memory of its former greatness, the Buddha would enter Parinirvana in the environs of this city, capital of the Mallas, who greatly revered the Blessed One.

 

The Buddha began his last journey in Rajagrha, capital city of the kingdom of Magadha (modern Bihar). Departing from the Vulture Peak, he traveled north through Magadha, crossed the Ganges, then stopped for a time near Vaisali. Continuing on, the Blessed One traveled the road that led through Bhandagrama and Hatthigrama. He took his last meal at the house of Cunda, in Pava (Papa, Padrauna) and set out on the last leg of his journey.

 

On the way to Kusinagara, the Buddha became ill and stopped to rest several times. Then, in a grove of sala trees, he asked his faithful attendant Ananda to prepare the place for his passing away. To the disciples gathered around him, the Enlightened One named the types of his teachings and summarized them in his last zeaching, preserved in the Mahaparinirvana-sutra. 

 

Three times the Buddha asked if there were questions in the mind of any disciple present; all remained silent. Then the Blessed One gave his final teaching: "Bhiksus, never forget. Decay is inherent to all composite things." With these words the breath completely left his body, and the Buddha entered Parinirvana. Upon his passing, the earth shook, stars shot from the heavens, the sky burst into flames in the ten directions, and the air resounded with celestial music.

 

The disciple Aniruddha sent Ananda into Kusinagara to inform the Mallas that the Buddha had passed away. The Mallas honored the Buddha and watched over his body for seven days, then carried the body through the city of Kusinagara and out through the eastern gate to the cremation ground. Throughout this procession flowers fell from the sky for miles around, covering the ground up to the knees. When the Mallas attempted to light  the pyre, the flames would not tako hold, allowing time for the arrival of the great disciple Mahakasyapa, who had been in Rajagrha when the Buddha entered Parinirvana. After Mahakasyapa paid homage to the Buddha's body, the pyre spontaneously burst into flame.

 

When the body of Buddha was consumed, the Mallas extinguished the fire with milk, placed the relics in a golden vase, and brought  the relics into Kusinagara. From the eight kingdoms of the Madhyadesa that reverenced the Buddha and his teachings, delegations gathered to claim a share of the Buddha's relics. The Brahmin Drona divided the relics into eight portions and gave a share to each group. Drona himself received the embers from the cremations fire. Each took the relics back to their own country and enshrined them in stupas as the Buddha had requested.

~ Holy places of the Buddha

© 2018 by LPArt