|Section VIII: Future Projects for Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh)|
In addition to the BLACK BUDDHA Road Project in Nalanda and the upgrading of Venuvan, Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) is adding improvements to several other very important projects where the BUDDHA originally lived, taught, and meditated. In particular, he is contributing to the Maha Kassapa Vihara Silao Project, and the Muchilinda Pond Project and the Uruvela Kassapa Place Project, both in the Bodhgaya area. Bodhgaya is the place where GAUTAMA BUDDHA attained enlightenment under the sacred Bodhi Tree. Buddhists all across the world consider the place the most sacred and this has become a pilgrim destination for them. (Source: sonatravels-indiatours.com)
The BUDDHA Metta in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India
Maha Kassapa Vihara Silao Project
At the Maha Kassapa Vihara Silao Project area, Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) renovated and added Juna stone near a Boddhi tree for the purposes of worship and for sitting. In Vihara, he installed solar lights and improved the public car park area. Now, he will continue to make the needed improvements.
(http://nalanda-onthemove.blogspot.com/2012/12/silao-place-of-exchange-of-robes.html and http://nalanda-onthemove.blogspot.in/2011/01/rediscovery-of-silao-maha-kassapa.html)
This is the story of the “Exchange of Robes”: Mahakassapa decided to break the cycle of life and death and joy and sorrow and achieve the state of nirvana. Buddhist tradition mentions that on the day Mahakassapa left the worldly life and became ascetic, the earth trembled to see such virtue. The literature further mentions that at that time, the Buddha was at Veluvana and knew what the earthquake signified. He immediately left Veluvana to receive Mahakassapa, he sat down at the foot of the Bahuputtaka Nigrodha, between Rajagriha (Rajgir) and Nalanda. The moment Kassapa laid eyes on the Buddha he knew that he had found his Master. The Buddha stood in all his radiance, surrounded by an aura. Falling at the Buddha’s feet and saluting him respectfully, Venerable Kassapa asked permission to enter the Noble Order. The Buddha told him to be seated and, in three homilies, gave him his ordination.
Thereafter, both of them walked back to Rajagriha. On the way, the Buddha desired to rest under the root of a tree and Venerable Kassapa folded for him his outer robe (pilotikasanghati) as a seat. The Buddha sat on it and, feeling it with his hand, praised its softness. Venerable Kassapa asked him to accept it.
"And what would you wear?" inquired the Buddha.
Venerable Kassapa then begged that he might be given the rag robe worn by the Buddha.
"It is faded with use," said the Buddha, but Venerable Kassapa said he would prize it above the whole world and the robes were exchanged.
A 9th CE broken sculpture of Venerable Mahakassapa discovered from Silao in 1934 has an inscription mentioning about the historic event of the “Exchange of Robes”. The broken sculpture is presently kept at Mahadeosthana, Silao.
“According to Buddhist literature Maha Kassap, the disciple of LORD BUDDHA, realized that his death was nearing and he started moving toward the hill where he wanted to take his last breath. The ‘Kukkutapadagiri’ hill was not easily accessible and Maha Kassap faced many hurdles during travel. According to legend, he would face obstacles like rocks that would hinder his further continuation of the journey. He, however, struck all these rocks with the help of his staff which opened up and paved way for his journey. When he reached atop the hill a cavity was formed in the rocks. Maha Kassap entered in the cavity and indulged himself into a deep meditation. The rocks closed around him. A popular belief says that he is still inside the cave capped by stones.” (Source: bookcaronrent.com)
According to Maha Kassapa, a man of the four directions is satisfied with conditions he finds wherever he lives (Source: accesstoinsight.org):
“In the whole field of the Buddha's following,
“The Master has been served by me,
“Gotama the immeasurable does not cling
“The four foundations of mindfulness are his neck;
Muchilinda Pond Project
In the future, Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) also will be working on the Muchilinda Pond Project in the Bodhgaya area. His first intended renovations include concrete water pipes to bring the dirty water from the village to the river, which requires smoothing out the ground soil so that the pipes will be supported properly.
The Original BUDDHA from Muchilinda Pond, Bodhgaya, Bihar, India
Muchilinda (also spelled Muchalinda or Mucalinda) is the name of a naga (a snake-like being), who protected the BUDDHA from the elements after his enlightenment. With regard to Muchilinda Pond, ancient-buddhist-texts.net and wikipedia.org state, “It is said that four weeks after ŚĀKYAMUNI BUDDHA began meditating under the Bodhi tree, the heavens darkened for seven days, and a prodigious rain descended. However, the mighty king of serpents, Mucalinda, came from beneath the earth and protected with his hood the one who is the source of all protection. When the great storm had cleared, the serpent king assumed his human form, bowed before the BUDDHA, and returned in joy to his palace.” Having understood its meaning, the BUDDHA said:
"There is happiness and detachment for the one who is satisfied,
“Who has heard the Dhamma, and who sees,
“There is happiness for he who is free from ill-will in the world,
“Who is restrained towards breathing beings.
“The state of dispassion in the world is happiness, the complete transcending of sense desires,
“(But) for he who has removed the conceit ‘I am’ - this is indeed the highest happiness.”
The Muchilinda Original Pond about 2,600 Years at Muchilinda Village in Bodhgaya
(Muchilinda Pond’s location - zoom in and you can actually see it on the map)
Uruvela Kassapa Place Project
According to dhammawiki.com, “Uruvela was a small village in northern India on the outskirts of which the BUDDHA attained enlightenment. The BUDDHA described the village and its surroundings as ‘a beautiful stretch of ground, a lovely woodland grove, a clear flowing river with a beautiful ford, a village nearby for support…a suitable place for making an effort’ (M.I,167). In later centuries the village grew into a centre of Buddhist scholarship and pilgrimage and was known variously as Sambodhi, Mahàbodhi or Vajràsana. Today the town that has grown up on the site of Uruvela is called Bodh Gaya. ”
Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) started this project last year by putting Juna stone near a Boddhi tree in the Uruvela Kassapa Place area for the purposes of worship and for sitting. He is continuing to work on this project and to improve the area. The Dharmaranya-Vedi Management Committee has expressed its acceptance of Big Baba’s (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) renovation and development proposals of the historical religious site of Uruvela Kassapa Place Project in the area of Bodhgaya, Bihar, India. The Committee is happy that he wants to renovate and develop the site without altering its antiquity and purity. He will work cooperatively with the Committee and use their suggestions to maintain the sacredness of the site.
Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) with Master Luang Por Jumnian under the Bodhi Tree
According to Facts on File (fofweb.com), “Kasyapa (another spelling of Kassapa), a fire-worshipping ascetic, became an early follower of the BUDDHA. Uruvela Kasyapa and his two brothers took 500 of their matted-haired followers into the sangha. This Kasyapa was a well-known ascetic in his day, and it took an example of the BUDDHA's use of magical powers to persuade him to join. In the account, the BUDDHA battled two smoke-breathing nagas (serpents), read the thoughts of Uruvela Kasyapa, and performed many other miracles - a total of 3,500 - before Kasyapa and his followers agreed to follow him. After all the followers of the three brothers had been ordained, the BUDDHA taught them the fire sermon on Mt. Gaya.”
(Uruvela Kassapa, The Fire-Worshiper: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/btg/btg20.htm)
Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) at the Original Historical Religious Site of Uruvela, Bodhgaya
The Well at Uruvela
“In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love? How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?”
Note: Big Baba (Phra Ajahn Withoon Putamee Arjarasupoh) would like to give a special thank you to all of the local people of Bihar and to the government and Forest Department for their help and support on each of the completed and successful projects. He wants to thank Surendra Pandey and the Dharmaranya-Vedi Management Committee at the Uruvela Kassapa Place in the Bodhgaya area. He looks forward with happiness to our future projects and to working with each of you again. Thank you to Muchilinda and the local people living in Muchilinda Village. Thank you to the community and local people at the Maha Kassapa Vihara Silao area who supported the Project.