Scholars believe that Biraja (modern Jajpur) was a sacred land of Buddha Padmaprabha and the cradle of Mahayana, supported by fact that Jajpur and its neighborhood are seen to be rich in Mahayanic antiquities. In the 7th century, the visit of Hsuen Tsang to Odisha vividly accounts the flourishing state of Buddhism in Odra (ancient name of Odisha).
The legendary Kalinga War (261 BC) was fought on the banks of river Daya (outskirts of Bhubaneswar). The monumental bloodshed in the war had an adverse effect on Emperor Ashoka. He embraced Buddhism as a religion of peace which led to its subsequent patronage and propagation, especially in Odisha and neighboring states.
More than 2,500 years ago, a prince renounced his kingdom, meditated under the Bodhi tree, discovered a path to spiritual enlightenment and started expounding the principles of the Four Noble Truth and Eightfold Path. Based on these principles, 84,000 different methods to attain perfect liberation had been introduced and grouped under the three major vehicles or yanas: Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana.
The prince who had come to our realm and given us so many different solutions to disentangle from samsaric existence is none other Buddha Shakyamuni, the Exalted One from the Shakya clan.
Holy places are subject to wear and tear and manmade distortion. This is a precious opportunity to pay homage to Buddha’s holy places in the company of Sangha and receiving teaching from His Holiness. Besides, we will be cleaning the environment and promoting peace, resonating the teaching of Lord Buddha and putting it into action.
His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa will be giving daily discourses during the Pad Yatra.
The total walking distance is approximately 140km over 7 days, covering Dhauli, Khandagiri, Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri, the five precious Buddhist heritage sites in Odisha
Successful registrants will receive a detail copy of the schedule, however the schedule may be subject to minor adjustments, as His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa may readjust the journey as the situation requires.
It is important that you register if you wish to join in the walking pilgrimage, as a respect to the participating masters, the ordained and lay practitioners and the organizers. For security reasons, the organizers will reserve the right to refuse entry and registration. Please send in your registration soon for our immediate processing.
Buddha Shakyamuni was a historical figure, believed to have lived from about 563 BCE to 483 BCE. Born a prince of the Shakya clan, Sidhartha Gautama at the age of 29 embarked on the quest for enlightenment and liberation from the world of sufferings. He finally attained enlightenment at Bodh Gaya when he was 35 years old.
Buddha urged his disciples to seek truth within their own experiences. He taught that existence is based on the Four Noble Truths, namely: life is rooted in suffering; suffering is caused by craving for worldly things; one can find release from suffering by eliminating craving; craving can be eliminated by following the Eightfold Path. The path consists of: Right Understanding; Right Motivation; Right Speech; ; Right Action; Right Livelihood; Right Effort; Right Awareness; and Right Concentration
Buddha Shakyamnuni, after attaining complete enlightenment, spent over 40 summers in the samsaric world, teaching the holy Dharma and guiding the ignorant beings on the right spiritual path. The Buddha’s teachings were eventually documented by his disciples after his Mahaparinirvana and are contained in the Three Pitakas.
The Five Buddhist Sites of Odisha
Where Buddhism is talked about, Odisha’s name is certainly one of the leads. Having embraced the rich Buddhist heritage from the 6th century BCE, Odisha has its share of many Buddhist sites scattered across the length & breath. Moreover, there are some which not only have the largest concentration of Buddhist remains but are also a must-visit for instant enlightenment.
Ratnagiri (Jewel Mountain) is an excavated area comprising of two quadrangular monasteries, along with the remains of eight temples and about 300 minor stupas. The development of Buddhist art and architecture at Ratnagiri, whose ancient name was Ratnagiri Mahaviharaya Arya Viksu Sangha, took place between 5th century AD and 13th century CE. Most of the sculptures found here date back to 8th and 9th centuries. It was a part of the Puspagiri University, together with Lalitgiri and Udayagiri.
Set in the valley of two rivers, Birupa and Chitrotpala, the monastery was discovered by a local British official in 1905. A seven year excavation of the site by the Archaeological Survey of India beginning in 1985 yielded a number of stone inscriptions, seals, sealing, and potsherds, which established the site as having flourished between 2nd-3rd and 14-15th century CE. It is a popular tourist destination and pilgrimage site for its enormous brick monasteries.
UDAYAGIRI & KHANDAGIRI
If Lalitgiri is the oldest Buddhist site in the area, Udayagiri and Khandagiri is the most picturesque. Located at the base of verdant rolling hills forming a semi circle, this site exemplifies the blissful and tranquil natural surroundings selected for the construction of Buddhist monasteries in ancient India. It is a Buddhist complex in Odisha comprising major stupas and monasteries and is also famous for its Jain monuments.
Dhauli is also famous for its Buddhist monuments. It happens to be the place where the bloodiest of battles were fought and won by Emperor Ashoka. This monument marked his transformation from an ambitious king of a prospering kingdom to a follower of Buddha and his teaching. The evidence of this transformation can be seen at Dhauli, 8 km from Bhubaneswar, in the form of a rock edict marked by the image of an elephant sculpted from the overhanging rock. There are two such rock edicts still surviving in Odisha.