General Buddhism - Buddhist Pilgrimage
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The idea of a pilgrimage came from the Buddha himself. Before He passed into Mahaparinibbana, the Buddha advised pious disciples to visit four places that may be for their inspiration after He was gone. They are Lumbini, where He was born; Buddhagaya, where He attained Supreme Enlightenment; Deer Park in Sarnath, where He preached the First Sermon; and Kusinara, where He passed into Mahaparinibbana. The pious disciple should visit these places and look upon them with feelings of reverence, reflecting on the particular event of the Buddha’s life connected with each place. Since the Mahaparinibbana of the Buddha, these four shrines of Buddhism have become the focal points for pious disciples to rally around and seek inspiration. By the time of King Asoka, four more places, namely: Savatthi, Sankasia, Rajagaha and Vesali, that were closely associated with the Buddha and scenes of His principal miracles, were added to the pilgrimage itinerary. Together they make the Eight Great Places of pilgrimage.
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