Withdraw that arrow to attain peace of mind
"Un-indicated and unknown is the length of life of those subject to
death. Life is difficult and brief and bound up with suffering. There is
no means by which those who are born will not die. Having reached old
age, there is death. This is the natural course for a living being.
Facade to Ajanta cave 19.
With ripe fruits there is the constant danger that they will fall. In
the same way, for those born and subject to death, there is always the
fear of dying. Just as the pots made by a potter all end by being
broken, so death is the breaking up of life.
"The young and old, the foolish and the wise, all are stopped short
by the power of death, all finally end in death. Of those overcome by
death and passing to another world, a father cannot hold back his son,
nor relatives a relation. See! While the relatives are looking on and
weeping, one by one each mortal is led away like an ox to slaughter.
"In this manner the world is afflicted by death and decay. But the
wise do not grieve, having realized the nature of the world. You do not
know the path by which they came or departed.
Not seeing either end you lament in vain. If any benefit is gained by
lamenting, the wise would do it. Only a fool would harm himself. Yet
through weeping and sorrowing the mind does not become calm, but still
more suffering is produced, the body is harmed and one becomes lean and
pale, one merely hurts oneself. One cannot protect a departed one (peta)
by that means. To grieve is in vain.
"By not abandoning sorrow a being simply undergoes more suffering.
Bewailing the dead he comes under the sway of sorrow.
See other men faring according to their deeds! Hence beings tremble
here with fear when they come into the power of death. Whatever they
imagine, it (turns out) quite different from that. This is the sort of
disappointment that exists. Look at the nature of the world! If a man
lives for an hundred years, or even more, finally, he is separated from
his circle of relatives and gives up his life in the end.
Therefore, having listened to the Arhant, (1) one should give up
lamenting. Seeing a dead body, one should know, "He will not met by me
As the fire in a burning house is extinguished with water, so a wise,
discriminating, learned and sensible man should quickly drive away the
sorrow that arises, as the wind (blows off) a piece of cotton. He who
seeks happiness should withdraw the arrow: his own lamentations,
longings and grief.
"With the arrow withdrawn, unattached, he would attain to peace of
mind; and when all sorrow has been transcended he is sorrow-free and has
The Ghositarama of Kaushambi
Important centre in Buddhist India:
It is indeed a pity that Sri Lanka pilgrimage operators confine their
itinerary to Buddha Gaya, Shravasti, Sankassa, Varanasi and Sanchi.
It is rarely only a few take them such as to Kaushambi, near Allhabad,
and also to Kesariya, near Patna, where he tallest stupa of the world
was excavated and identified by the Archaeological Survey of India.
In order to meet this paucity, this writer, for the benefit of
Buddhist Spectrum readers documenting the Buddhist heritage of Kaushambi
an important place in the Buddhist India.
Kaushambi was the capital of the Vatsa kingdom of the time of the
Buddha. It was among the most important centres of ancient India, where
the Buddha, The Blessed one spent his 9th rains' retreat and where the
first schism of the Maha Sangha took place and also where Buddha
pronounced several rules for the disciples.
The Buddha visited Kaushambi and stayed at Ghositarama on many
occasions. Among the most important monastic establishments, at
Kaushambi, were the Ghositarama, Kukkutarama and Pavarikarama, built by
the wealthy entrepreneurs and chiefs of the trade and commerce and
crafts guilds under their command. These Vaishya-settis were the
bourgeoisie of the time.
The three rich merchants of Kaushambi, Ghosita, Kukuta and Pavarika,
invited the Buddha to their homeland of Kaushambi in Vatsa kingdom, to
spend his rains' retreat.
Thus they built massive monastic establishments for the Buddha and
the Sangha and named them under their own names, like Jetavanarama, (Jeta's
grove) as Ghositarama, Kukkutarama and Pavarikarama and on the arrival
of the Buddha gifted them to the Buddha and the fraternity of monks.
Ghosita's daughter, Samavati, was a lay devotee of the Buddha and she
was one of the sub-queens of King Udayana of Vatsa. It was she who was
instrumental in inspiring King Udayana of Vatsa. It was she was the
instrumental in inspiring King Udayana to be a devotee of the Buddha, as
the fame of the Buddha was well-known then all over northern India.
During the time of the Buddha most of the regions of north India were
connected by approved trade routes, with caravans of merchandise being
carried to and fro. Among these main overland trading routes the most
important was one that was at Tamralipti (Tamluk) near Kolkata
(Calcutta) the port of the Ganges river, that ran through, Pataliputra
(modern Patna, capital of Bihar State) and Varansi (Benares), Varanasi
From Kaushambi a by-road ran through Vidisa (homeland of Vidisa Devi,
first wife of Asoka when he was the Viceroy of Ujjaini (Ujjain), mother
of Mahinda Thera and Sangamitta Theri (in modern Madhya Pradesh, near
Sanchi, between the capital of Bhopal and Sanchi) and this road
connected to the Baharukacca township.
The main highway from Kaushambi ran to Mathur and on southern river
bank of Yamuna river. Roads branched off from there to Pathala city at
the estuary of Indus river, through modern Delhi (then known as
Kurukshetra, where the Buddha discoursed the Satipattana - sutta as the
Kuru people of this area were the most intelligent).
This road then led Punjab (Panchanadi) and Shakaka (Sialkot) to the
western region of Takshashila and from there to Kabul valley to Central
Thus the roads that ran beside the great rivers of Ganges, Yamuna and
Indus were highly prosperous areas.
During the time of the Buddha there were small townships all over
India. However Kasi (Beranres-Varanasi) and Kaushambi were several
centuries old great cities.
As recorded in Digha Nikaya when the Buddha opted to attain
Mahaparinirvana in the small city of Kusi His Chief Attendant Ananda
felt sad and posed the question to the Buddha as to why he did not
choose the most rich and important cities like the six cities of
Sravashti, Champa, Rajagaha, Saketa (later known as Avodhya) Kaushambi
The Buddha explained to Ananda Thera that Kusinara was in earlier
times called Kusavati, ruled by a king with high military strengths and
twelve leagues wide from east to west and seven leagues broad from north
to south and had all the riches and comforts then. Thus Kaushambi was
one of the richest and important cities of north India with highways to
all regions crise-crossing Kaushambi.
The Chinese pilgrim monk Hieun-Tsang, who visited in the 7th century
AD, states in his travel records that he saw a unique sandalwood statue
of the Buddha, made at the behest of King Udayana, placed under a stone
dome in the ancient palace of the king in situ.
Under the patronage of King Udayana Buddhism flourished extensively
in Kaushambi to such an extent and continued to be so even in the 2nd
century BC, when King Duttha - Gamani Abhava (Dutugemunu 101 - 77 BC)
laid the foundation for the building of Mahathupa (Ruwanveliseya) at
Anuradhapura, on invitation, 30,000 monks from Kaushambi graced the
It was earlier believed that Kaushambi was on the bank of River
Ganges. Following a discovery of the name of 'Kosambi mandala' in an
inscription entry to the fort of Kare. Cunningham too closely followed
the travel records of Chinese monks and looked for Kaushambi at the
banks of the Ganges, but totally in vain.
Englishman archaeologist Bayley (The Ancient Geography of India) in
January 1861 informed Cunningham that there was an old village of
Kaushambi, 30 miles from Allhabad (Uttar Pradesh).
In February the same year Cunningham, met Siva Prasad of the
Education Department and learnt from him that the village of Kosambi
still known as Kosambinagar, was a great resort of Jain monks and was a
large and rich township even a century ago.
This reference was adequate and Cunningham began to search for
Kaushambi on the banks of the river Yamuna, instead of Ganges. He
arrived at Kosambi in 1861 and identified the site with the Kaushambi of
the time of the Buddha.
The ruins of this ancient city were found on the left bank of the
river Yamuna, 70 kms south-west from Allhabad. Thus commenced
excavations of the site by the late Prof. G.R. Sharma of the Allhabad
University in 1949 and again in 1951-1956. Following these excavations
numerous remains of the ancient city came to light.
The excavations have yielded remains of the residences of the common
people, near Asokan Pillar, the Ghositarama monastery, the defences of
the city of Kosam, bastions, guard cells and many other artefacts. A
number of inscriptions too were recovered which testified the monastery
to be Ghositarama and the site as Kaushambi.
The lamp of the Buddha
During the excavations a lamp was found in the Ghositarama. The lamp,
in the form of a seven - petalled lotus 'Satadal Lotus' offered to the
Buddha by Bhikkhu Dharmapradipa to be used in the Gandhakuti (Fragrant
Chamber) of the Buddha inside the Ghostarama had an inscription made by
Venerable Dharmapradipa, the Sakyan Bhikkhu in honour of the Buddha for
the Gandhakuti at Ghositarama. "Religious merit accruing from it should
be for the enlightenment of all living beings".
The monastery was a combined chaitya cum vihara. A number of cells
for monks, a small shrine room with verandas and pillars enclosing a
huge courtyard with a massive stupa with a square plan was found.
The sprawling mounts of Kaushambi have brought to light a large
variety of artifacts of high artistic value. This largesse consists of
stone sculptures, agate carvings, semi-precious stone, jewellery and
The stone sculptures include images of Buddha and Bodhisatvas,
probably there had been Mahayana influence in view of the latter images.
At the Kosam Inam and Kosam Khiraj, villagers sell 'patthar' (stones) by
The villagers believe that the square shaped beads find in the fields
have curative properties and work as protective talisman, providing good
fortune and boons. In this scenario it is very necessary that the ASI
(Archaeological Survey of India) set up a guard in this place and also
set up a site museum.
The Kaushambi - Vatsa architectural and sculptural remains, are
deposited in the museum at Allahabad in the Company gardens, reveal that
they are datable to main historical periods of India, Maurya, Sunga,
Kushan, Gupta and also from the 3rd century BC to 12th century AD.
During the latter century Buddhism lost ground in India due to Muslim
invasions led Mohamad Ghore of Afghanistan, who destroyed the Buddhist
historical monuments and carried away carts loads of gold and jewellery
to their country and also due to Hinduism's regeneration in India.
No photographing at Kaushambi, as the excavations are not complete
and site open to visitors and pilgrims yet. The deposits in museums all
over India too are not permitted to be photographed. Hence one has to be
satisfied with photocopies from research documents.
Buddha Pradeepa -Daily News Vesak Journal - 2008
We invite Venerable erudite Bhikkhus and Buddhist scholars to
contribute articles to the Daily News Vesak Journal - 2008 - Buddha
Snail mail: Editor, Buddha Pradeepa, Daily News Editorial, Lake
House, Colombo 10.
E-mail: [email protected] (Attention: Malini Govinnage)
There is no concentration in one who lacks wisdom, nor is there
wisdom in him who lacks concentration. In whom are both concentration
and wisdom, he indeed is in the presence of Nibbana.
(Bhikkhu vagga -