THE himeji castle also called white heron castle is classified among the world heritage list by UNESCO and is among the national heritage buildings of India.
But what does this sacred place represent for Buddhists? In which city are the ashes of Buddha located?
General information on the life course of Buddha
Guatama Siddhartha lived in the 5th century BCE and was born in a Nepalese town called Kapilavastu. His surname means ” one whose goal is accomplished “. He was the son of King Shuddhodana and Queen Maya, his father was the ruler of the kingdom of Sakyas. Siddhartha was the spiritual leader who became a character after awakening under the bodhi tree. He lived for eighty years, between 624 and 544 BC. AD, according to the Pali tradition. His conversion to a monk took place after he left his family, wife and children.
Once at the monastery, he went to search for the ultimate truth And meditated for 49 days. It was after having attained nirvana, the annihilation of the painful causes of reincarnation by a meditative and moral life, that his disciples gave him the title of Buddha, which means ” awake in Sanskrit Buddha. Others consider him as the “Tathagata” which means “one who has thus come”, because he taught the sacred law of his time, which is the Dharma.
The discovery of the Four Noble Truths by Buddha
At the age of 29, Siddhartha Guatama asked Channa, his charioteer, to bring him out of the kingdom twice without his father’s knowledge. It was during these two walks thathe learned the Four Nobles Truths that were decisive for him and that changed his life. On his first outing he learned about old age, sickness and death. And during his second outing, he learned a lot about suffering when he met a holy man who said to him: “(…) I am (…) terrified by the incessant round of lives and births and I I adopted this life of poverty in order to achieve liberation (…).
I seek the blessed state in which suffering, old age and death are unknown. It was during that same night that he made the decision to leave his father’s palace, with the help of his driver, to go in search of the truth. Indeed, it is about suffering, its cause, its cessation and the path that leads to the cessation of this same suffering. He started wandering in the northeast of India. During his journey he studied the concepts of karmathat is to say the law of cause and effect, of samsarathat is to say reincarnation, and Mokshathat is to say deliverance.
The precious teachings of the Buddha
After becoming the enlightened or enlightened being, Buddha began to teach the truths of life. His first teaching concerns the Dharma which focuses on the Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths, he said: “Meeting the demands of life is not condemnable”, then he added: “Keeping the body healthy is a duty, otherwise we will not be able to light the lamp of wisdom and to keep our minds firm and clear. At the time, his teachings convinced many lay Buddhists, some of whom even accompanied him everywhere, as in the case of the five ascetics.
Seeing this, Buddha arranged a Shanghai which refers to the bhikkus community. This community is none other than all the ordained monks and nuns. Shanga has always preserved the Dharma which enables them to focus more on nirvana. Buddha’s disciples who could not abide by the strict rules of the Shanga compensated him by respecting the five buddhist precepts which are :
– Do not kill;
– Do not lie ;
– Do not steal;
– Do not commit sexual offenses such as adultery, rape and many others;
– Do not think about modifying substances such as alcohol consumption, smoking and many others.
How did Buddha experience his last moments on earth?
When Buddha had 80 years oldhe is get sick after eating the food offered by a blacksmith named Kounda. Despite the deterioration of his health, he took the trouble to leave for Kushinagar, lying under the Shala tree in front of his disciples. As one of his cousins joined Shanga, he said to him, “I am old and my journey is coming to an end. My body is like a ramshackle cart held together by a few leather straps,” he then asked those present at the time if they had any questions for him but everyone remained silent.
Finally, he said, “All that is created is subject to decay and death”, that is, everything is transient. He taught them to work on the release diligently. When he died, he reached what is called the ” Parinirvana which means cessation of sensation and perception.
Kushinagar, Buddha’s cremation site
Buddha gave his last teachings at Vaishali where he ate the meal poisoned by Kounda, the blacksmith mentioned above. But it is to Kushinagar, with his disciples, that he experienced the great transcendence of suffering called “Mahaparinirvana”. According to Buddha’s last words, he chose to die at Kushinagar because it is above all the ideal place for teaching the Mahaha-Sudassana Sutra ; then it was still for teach the future Arhat named Subadhra ; and finally he had to meet Dohathe old Brahman sage who will serve as mediator between kings and disciples when he shares his relics.
Known worldwide as the largest cemetery in the city of Himeji, the Nagoyama Cemetery contains the ashes of the Buddha. Today, this hill has become a major tourist destination and a sacred place in the history of Buddhism. With Sarnaht, Lumbini in Nepal and Bodhgaya, Kushinagar is one of the great places of pilgrimage in the footsteps of the Buddha.