BODHGAYA – Site of Buddha’s Enlightenment

Deeds of the Buddha’s Life:

  1. Becoming skilled in the arts and sports of youth
  2. Taking charge of the kingdom and keeping a harem
  3. Upon going to the four gates of the city, becoming discouraged with cyclic existence and leaving the householder’s life.
  4. Practicing austerities for six years.
  5. Going to the Bodhi tree.
  6. Overcoming mara and the hosts of demons.
  7. Becoming enlightened

Deeds of the Buddha’s Life

Motivation & Salutations

Generate the motivation of bodhicitta. As much as possible generate a strong thought of impermanence-death, which allows your mind to become Dharma. Then generate compassion and strong bodhicitta toward sentient beings.

Then think of those you have a karmic responsibility towards, those close to you, those recently deceased, and bring them all along with you on pilgrimage!



Refuge & Bodhicitta

I go for refuge until I am enlightened
To the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Supreme Assembly.
By the merits I create through listening to the Dharma, May I become a buddha to benefit all sentient beings. (3x)

Seven Limb Prayer

Reverently I prostrate with my body, speech, and mind;
I present clouds of every type of offering, actual and imagined;
I declare all my negative actions accumulated since beginningless time, and rejoice in the merit of all holy and ordinary beings.
Please, remain until the end of cyclic existence, and turn the wheel of Dharma for living beings.
I dedicate my own and other’s merits to the great enlightenment.

Mandala Offering

This ground, anointed with perfume, strewn with flowers,
Adorned with Mount Meru, four continents, the sun and the moon:
I imagine this as a buddha-field and offer it.
May all living beings enjoy this pure land!


Slideshow of the Area

Location Map

Notes on Bodhgaya from Jeremy Russell (opens in new window).

Random Notes

Buddha Gaya is the most holy place on earth for the followers of buddhist faith all over the world. Situated by the bank of river Neranjana the place was then known as Uruwela. King Ashoka was the first to build a temple here.

After meditating for six years at Urubela (Buddhagaya) in Gaya, prince Siddhartha attained Buddhatva or enlightenment. According to Buddhist traditions, c. 500 BC Prince Gautama Siddhartha, wandering as an ascetic, reached the sylvan banks of the Phalgu, near the city of Gaya. There he sat in meditation under a bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa). After three days and three nights of meditation, Siddhartha claimed to have attained enlightenment and insight, and the answers that he had sought. He then spent seven weeks at seven different spots in the vicinity meditating and considering his experience. After seven weeks, he travelled to Sarnath, where he began teaching Buddhism.

The history of Bodh Gaya is documented by many inscriptions and pilgrimage accounts. Foremost among these are the accounts of the Chinese pilgrims Faxian in the 5th century and Xuanzang in the 7th century. The area was at the heart of a Buddhist civilization for centuries, until it was conquered by Turkic armies in the 13th century. The place-name, Bodh Gaya, did not come into use until the 18th century CE. Historically, it was known as Uruvela, Sambodhi, Vajrasana or Mahabodhi.[7] The main monastery of Bodh Gaya used to be called the Bodhimanda-vihāra (Pali). Now it is called the Mahabodhi Temple.

Five bombs were detonated in Mahabodhi temple premises on July 7, 2013. 4 bombs were also detonated in town while three were defused.

The complex, located about 110 kilometres from Patna, contains the Mahabodhi Temple with the diamond throne (called the Vajrasana) and the holy Bodhi tree. This tree was originally a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Sri Lanka, itself grown from a sapling of the original Bodhi tree.

It is believed that 250 years after the Enlightenment of the Buddha, Emperor Asoka visited Bodh Gaya. He is considered to be the founder of the original Mahabodhi temple. It consisted of an elongated spire crowned by a miniature stupa and a chhatravali on a platform. A double flight of steps led up to the platform and the upper sanctum. The mouldings on the spire contained Buddha images in niches. Some historians believe that the temple was constructed or renovated in the 1st century during the Kushan period. With the decline of Buddhism in India, the temple was abandoned and forgotten, buried under layers of soil and sand.

The temple was later restored by Sir Alexander Cunningham in the late 19th century.[citation needed] In 1883, Cunningham along with J. D. Beglar and Dr Rajendralal Miitra painstakingly excavated the site. Extensive renovation work was carried out to restore Bodh Gaya to its former glory. It has a height of 55 metres which can be viewed from a distance of 11 km.

Sutra to Read

The Buddha Speaks the

Sutra On Cause And Effect

At that time, Ananda was on Magic Mountain, together with twelve hundred fifty in the assembly. Ananda made obeisance with his palms together, circumambulated the Buddha three times, and knelt with his palms joined. Then he asked Shakyamuni Buddha this question: “During the Dharma-Ending Age, all the living beings in Southern Jambudvipa will give rise to much unwholesome karma. They will not revere the Triple Jewel, or respect their parents. They will be lacking in the Three Bonds. The Five Constants that safeguard the universal obligations between people will be in disharmony and disarray. Beings will be poor, destitute, lowly, and vile. Their six faculties will suffer impairment. All day long they will engage in killing and harming. Moreover, they will not be of equal status; some will be wealthy while others will be poor. What are the conditions leading to these various different rewards and retributions? We disciples pray that the World Honoured One will compassionately explain each one of these for us.”

The Buddha told Ananda and the assembly of great disciples, “You should now listen attentively. Good indeed, good indeed! I will clearly set forth all of this for you. All men and women of the world, whether they be poor and lowly or wealthy and noble, whether they be undergoing limitless sufferings or enjoying blessings without end, are all undergoing the rewards or retributions which are due to causes and effects from their past lives.

What should they do from now on?

“First, they should be filial and respectful to their parents. Next, they should reverently believe in the Triple Jewel. Third, they should refrain from killing and instead liberate the living. Fourth, they should eat pure vegetarian food and practice giving. These acts will enable them to plant seeds in the field of blessings for their future lives.”

Then the Buddha spoke these verses on cause and effect:

Wealth and dignity come from one’s destiny, from causes planted in lives in the past. People who hold to this simple principle will reap good fortune in lives in the future.

Kind men and women, listen to the causes, hear and remember this Sutra’s reminder of the causes and effects of karmic deeds in the past, in the future, and in the present.

Cause and effect is no small care. True are my words; don’t take them lightly. Why are some people officials at present? Because with gold they gilded the Buddhas in their past lives, long, long ago.

It’s from their practice in lives in the past that they reap in this life a rich fruition. The purple gown and golden cordon – the honoured marks of higher office: Should you seek them, seek with the Buddhas, gilding the Buddhas is your own gain; robing Thus Come Ones, you robe yourself.

Don’t say it’s easy to become an official; it cannot happen if causes aren’t planted.

What are the causes of owning a carriage and riding on palanquins? People like that were builders and menders of bridges and roads.

Why are some people wearers of fine material? That is because in times in the past, robes they save as gifts to the Sangha.

Sometimes people have plentiful goods, the reason, in fact, again is quite fair. In the past those people gave food to the poor.

Others don’t have food or drink, who can guess the reason why? Before those people were plagued with a fault: Stingy greed made them squeeze every penny.

The well-to-do among us dwell in very tall mansions and vast estates. The reason is they gladly gave rice, lavishing gifts of grain on monasteries.

Enjoying blessings and justly prosperous, are People who reap a fitting reward.

In times now past they helped build temples and saw that the Sangha had huts and shelters. Some people’s features are fine and perfect, surely the reason for such rewards is that beautiful flowers they offered to Buddhas.

Why are some people gifted and wise? In former lives they ate pure food and remembered the Buddhas with mindful regard.

Look at men whose wives are loyal, their reward comes now for what happened before: Their conditions are strong in the Buddha’s door.

Some have marriages lasting and meaningful. Their happiness doesn’t happen by chance. The cause this time is the hanging of canopies and streamers before the Buddhas’ statues.

Some happy fellows’ fathers and mothers enjoy long lifespans, contentment, and ease. Where is the source for rewards such as these? They protected orphans in times now past and regarded all elderly ones as their own. Orphans must live without fathers and mothers since before they shot down birds for sport.

How does one get lots of children and grandchildren? By letting birds fly from their cages to freedom.

In raising children, some really fail badly. It’s because before they drowned female infants. When barren, people won’t bear any children. That’s their due for committing promiscuous deeds.

Some have long lifespans, why are they lucky? Liberating creatures, they ransomed lives. Have you seen how many suffer short lifespans? Their wanton slaughter of beings is why.

Lonely are men whom no women will marry. They’re paying their debt for committing adultery. Widows bear a sad retribution. They held their past lives’ husbands in scorn.

Servants and slaves made that bondage themselves by neglecting repayment of goodnesses done them. Bright are the eyes of some fortunate beings. Before Buddhas they offered lamps filled with oil.

The blind of this world bear a heavy burden for past failure to tell the way clearly to travellers. Some people’s mouths are very misshapen. They blew out lamps on the Buddhas’ altars.

To be deaf and mute is a dreary existence. Reward appropriate for scolding one’s parents. How do people get to be hunchbacks? They berated and laughed at those bowing to Buddhas.

Take heed of malformed hands, my friend. They betray people prone to evil. Fellows with crippled and useless feet ambushed and robbed with reckless abandon.

Most cows and horses were humans before – people who didn’t settle their debts. Many former people are now pigs or dogs because they injured and cheated others.

Illness and pain: an effect inevitable for bestowing meat and wine on the Buddhas. Freedom from illness: a fine reward for relieving the sick by bestowing medicines.

The fate of imprisonment catches some people due to fiendish deeds and a failure to yield. Death by starvation: due retribution for stopping up holes of rats and snakes.

Appropriate that a victim of poisoning caused aquatic poisoning; dammed up waters. Abandoned, forlorn, rejected beings were cruel of old, abusing others.

The stature of some is extremely short. Before, they read Sutras spread out on the floor. Vomiting blood? Believe it’s from first eating meat, then reciting the Sutras.

Another deed that determines deafness: To not listen well to Sutra recitals.

Sores and scabies bother some people who gave stinking fish and flesh to the Buddhas. People who reek with a terrible stench sold inferior scents and phony goods.

Why do some by their own hand hang themselves? Before, they used nooses to capture their prey. All those widowed, alone, unwed, or orphaned, are now paid justly for former jealousy.

Those struck by lightning, consumed by fire, rigged their scales to better their business income. Fierce tigers and snakes that feast on people are enemies bearing resentments from lives before.

In our myriad deeds, whatever we do, we reap our own rewards, it’s true. Who can we blame for our woe in the hells? Who can there be to blame but ourselves?

Don’t say that cause and effect is unseen. Look at you, your offspring, heirs, and grand children. If you doubt the good of pure eating and giving, look around and find those enjoying fortune. Having practiced of old, they now harvest abundance.

To cultivate now will bring blessings anew. Those who slander the cause and effect in this Sutra will fall and have no chance to be human. Those who recite and uphold this Sutra are supported by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Write out this Sutra, study it hard and in the future your families will flourish. Uphold this Sutra atop your heads to avert disasters and fatal accidents.

To lecture this Sutra on Cause and Effect is to sharpen your wits in successive rebirths. Chanting this Sutra on Cause and Effect will make one revered, well-regarded by all. Print and distribute this precious Sutra and reap rebirth as a ruler or king.

To verify former cause and effect, regard Mahakashyapa’s golden body.

A case of future cause and effect: Bhikshu Good Star slandered the Dharma and lost his chance for human life. If cause and effect contained no truth, why did Maudgalyayana seek to rescue his mother from the hells to save her from suffering?

Those who trust the words of this Sutra as true, will all be reborn in the Western Land of Bliss. To speak of present cause and effect, to proclaim future and past as well, is a deed that could never be done to its end.

Join at the door of the Triple Gem. With blessings and wholesome belief one can enter the door, supported by gods and dragons, dragons and gods who won’t let you down.

For every part of giving you practice, you’ll reap ten thousand parts reward. Such blessings are stored in a solid treasury, for enjoyment in future rebirths without end.

If you care to know of past lives causes, look at rewards you are reaping today if you wish to find out about future lives, you need but notice what you’re doing right now.

End Of The Buddha Speaks The Sutra On Cause and Effect In Three Periods Of Time.

Dedication Prayers

Dedicate that you too may complete the Twelve Deeds of a buddha. Dedicate for your friends and family and those you have responsibility for, that you may lead them all to enlightenment. Make any other specific dedications for the end of war, the halt of climate change, the eradication of all pandemics and disease, and the success of all your spiritual endeavours.


Due to the merits of these virtuous actions
May I quickly attain the state of a Guru-Buddha
And lead all living beings, without exception,
Into that enlightened state

Bodhicitta Verse

May the supreme jewel bodhicitta
Not yet born, arise and grow
May that born have no decline
But increase forever more

Long Life Prayer for HH Dalai Lama

The wish-granting wish-fulfilling jewel,
Source of every single benefit and happiness in this world,
To the incomparably kind Tenzin Gyatso, I beseech:
May all your holy wishes be spontaneously fulfilled.

Long Life Prayer for Lama Zopa Rinpoche

You who uphold the Subduer’s moral way, who serve as the bountiful bearer-of-all,
Sustaining, preserving, and spreading Manjunath’s
victorious doctrine;
Who masterfully accomplish magnificent prayers honouring the Three Jewels:
Savior of myself and others, your disciples, please, please live long!

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