Bomb Blasts at Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya

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A heinous serial bomb blast took place at the serene Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya on early Sunday morning, July 07, 2013.

According to Asian Age, two monks were injured by nine of thirteen bombs that were planted. They were set off in the temple complex and near the Mahabodhi tree within a time span of 30 minutes.

It has been reported that the Mahabodhi temple had been on a terrorist hit list and the Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) had sent out an alert just last week. The temple was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2002.

Terming the series of blasts at the Mahabodhi temple complex in Bihar as “unfortunate”, the Dalai Lama on Sunday said “few individuals” could be behind the attack. The Tibetan government-in-exile said it was deeply saddened over the blasts.

In a statement published today, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa said in Dharamsala, “I was deeply saddened to hear of the senseless violence perpetrated today at the Mahabodhi temple and its environs in Bodhgaya. This is the place where Buddhist pilgrims from India and the world over pay homage to Lord Buddha and his teachings.

“As yet we do not know why or by whom this sacred site was targeted. However, I am convinced that, as Buddhists, in responding to this situation, the best homage we can pay to Lord Buddha is to uphold his teachings on love and ahimsa (non-violence).”

Around 6 million people visit Bihar every year, especially Bodh Gaya, a very important pilgrimage spot. A total of 52 countries have established their monasteries here.

The complex houses the holy bodhi tree, the 80 meter high Mahabodhi statue of Buddha, as well as multiple shrines marking the places where he is believed to have spent time after his enlightenment for seven weeks at seven different spots in the vicinity, meditating and considering his experience. Several specific places at the current Mahabodhi Temple relate to the traditions surrounding these seven weeks. Buddha devoted the rest of his life to teaching; he founded an order of monks before dying aged 80.

Mahabodhi Temple was built by Emperor Ashoka around 260 BCE. It is one of the oldest brick structures to have survived in eastern India and considered to be a fine example of Indian brickwork; it was highly influential in the development of later architectural traditions.

The central tower of the Mahabodhi Temple rises 55 meter high and was thoroughly renovated in the 19th century; it is surrounded by four smaller towers, constructed in the same style. Two meter high stone railings surround the temple on all four sides, revealing two distinct types, both in style as well as the materials used. The older ones, made of sandstone, date to about 150 BCE, and the others, constructed from unpolished coarse granite, are believed to be of the Gupta period (300–600 CE). The older railings have scenes such as Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, being bathed by elephants, and Surya, the Hindu sun god, riding a chariot drawn by four horses. The newer railings have figures of stupas (reliquary shrines) and Garudas (eagles). Images of lotus flowers also appear commonly.

Osho speaks lovingly on this place:

The place where Gautam Buddha became enlightened is called Bodh Gaya. It is a small temple – some follower made the temple as a memorial, by the side of the tree under which Buddha became enlightened. That tree still remembers something, and I came to know later on that the bodhi tree has a certain substance which no other tree has, and that is the substance which makes a man a genius. Only geniuses have that substance in their mind, and in the world of trees only the bodhi tree has that substance. Perhaps it is more perceptive, more receptive; it has a certain genius.

Buddha remained under that tree for many years. The whole area is still fragrant, and just by the side of the tree is the place where he used to walk. When he used to get tired of sitting and meditating then he would walk and meditate, so that place is marked by marble stones. But sitting under the tree or walking on those marble stones, you can feel you are not in this world, that this place has something which no other place has.

Beyond Psychology, Ch 34, Q 2 (excerpt)

Naina for Osho News

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