12/12/2009 to 12/13/2009 | India , Uttar Pradesh

Kushinagar (Completing the Buddhist Quadfecta)

Having just been to Lumbini I had now been to three of the four main pilgrimage sites associated with the life of the Buddha, Lumbini (birthplace), Bodhgaya (site of his enlightenment), and Sarnath (site of his first sermon).  Only a couple hours by bus from Gorakpur the main Indian transportation hub for the Nepali border town of Sunauli is Kushinagar, site of the Buddha’s death.  Via several bus changes I made my way to this sleepy pilgrimage town in order to complete the “Buddhist Quadfecta.”  I’m not sure what this does for my karma rating but it can’t hurt.  Significantly more remains of the ancient temples at Kushinagar than at Lumbini.  The prize piece is the 5th century reclining statue of the Buddha on his death bed (mahaparinirvana), which sits in front of the stupa marking the place where he passed to nirvana.  Remains of a number other temples and stupas are also still standing including the revered stupa that was built over the site of the Buddha’s cremation about a mile from where he died.  I found Kushinagar a pleasant place, and probably my second favorite of the four principal Buddhist sites, after Bodhgaya.

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