Tag Archives: buddhism

KANERI CAVES

Copyright@shravancharitymission

By Kamlesh Tripathi

 

    Some may not know that Kaneri caves are neatly nestled inside the SGNP (Sanjay Gandhi National Park) in the Borivali region of Mumbai which is now a high end residential area of Mumbai. Mumbai has this characteristics of springing up surprises. In the past we saw the population of big cats rising in and around SGNP when every else in India it is was only going down, and in the same breath one finds these beautiful hand crafted caves in the midst of the concrete jungles and the financial capital of India–Mumbai. Mumbai otherwise is all about the great Indian Corporate Inc. On my two earlier postings I never could find time to visit these lovely creations even when we were staying close to SGNP in Kandivali where I have a flat. But, better late than never; this time we managed to visit the caves during a short holiday around the new-year while visiting our daughter-in-law and son. It was quite a breath taking view as we parked our car in the morning amidst the lush green surroundings of the SGNP just two km before the caves and started walking.

Before the merger of the seven-isles after the land reclamation during the 19th and 20th century this area was known as Saksette island. It happens to be one of the most populated islands of the world. It is bounded by Vasai Creek in the north; Ulhas-river in the north-east; Thane Creek and Bombay Harbour in the east and the great Arabian Sea in the south and west.

A Cluster of Rock Cut Monuments

 

    There is lot’s to see and assimilate in the Kaneri Caves that has a rich Buddhist legacy (Incidentally there are approx 50 crore Buddhists in the world today and it is the fourth largest religion in terms of adherents); and one goes spellbound as you go in and around the caves. A meticulous count revealed there are about 34 unfinished paintings of Buddha within the caves. Since we had gone in winters and that too in the morning, there was a certain nip in the air as we enjoyed the morning sun arching up. Apart from the paintings one should also see the ‘Vihara’ (The prayer hall) and the various different monasteries around the cave for a satiating fill of the ancient and historic Buddhist occupation and life.

 

And if you’ve had enough of history in your lifetime and are now looking for some fun and excitement then plan your trip accordingly that may include adventure sports such as rappelling, trapeze and treks around the fascinating lush green jungles of SGNP or the Silondha Trail that can be arranged by local tourist guides. The hilly terrain of the caves naturally creates several small waterfalls which are beautiful to watch especially during monsoon. Natural streams and rivers around the Kaneri Caves presents a stunning view of the area and exquisite locations for families to group and enjoy a small picnic while sightseeing the caves.

 

Being a Buddhist site, Kaneri could not have avoided its comparison with the other famous sites like Ellora, Ajanta and Nasik. Scholars have tried in the past to establish some kind of relationship between these Buddhist centers. Ellora has clear evidences suggesting the influence of Vajrayana Buddhism in later periods. Presence of female companions with Avalokiteshvara on few sculptures at Kaneri instigated scholars to suggest Vajrayana influence over Kaneri. Dulari Qureshi is among the recent ones to advocate this hypothesis. However, Debala Mitra is not in full support of it as he mentions that though we find female divinities in company of Bodhisattvas however full-fledged deities of the typical Vajrayana pantheon like those of Ellora are absent at Kaneri.

 

    Water System at Kanheri – It is a fact that almost all visitors of early 19th and 20th century appreciated the water system of this cave complex. Dr. Suraj Pandit writes that Kaneri had developed its own peculiarities like a well-developed water system, its own agricultural land, satellite settlements and resources for subsistence. There are water-cisterns provided at the entrance of almost each cave at Kaneri. An inscription also mentions the construction of a dam, of course to maintain the water resources.

 

Most of the caves are located at the southern hill. To support water supply to all these caves, five water tanks were constructed. Most of the cisterns are connected to these tanks and each other with a network of small channels. On the eastern hill, there is a place known as Gomukh where natural spring water was collected. It seems that the inhabitants tried their best to utilize every drop of rain water, states Dr Pandit. His study of water management system at Kaneri provides a glimpse of changes and restorations of rain water harvesting techniques spanning across a millennium.

 

While returning from Kaneri I had one thought in mind: Many of the things that the world claims to have developed in the contemporary were already there in India—Indic civilisation. So does it mean the entire Indic civilization degenerated post those times?

 

There are no places to shop inside the SGNP. There are a number of local eateries outside the SGNP. Borivali and Malad stations are the closest disembarkation.

 

 

*****

BEAUTIFUL QUOTES OF FOURTEENTH DALAI LAMA

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Posted by: Kamlesh Tripathi

dalailama buddhist

Some beautiful quotes by Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the fourteenth Dalai Lama

He is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. He has written several books on Buddhism and philosophy, and has received many international awards, including the 1989 Nobel Prize as recognition for his advocacy of world peace and inter-religious understanding.

The common enemy of all religious disciplines is selfishness of mind. For it is just this which causes ignorance, anger and passion, which are at the root of all the troubles.

*

Whenever Buddhism has taken root in a new land, there has been certain variation in the style in which it observed. The Buddha himself taught differently according to the place, the occasion and the situation of those who were listening to him.

*

Buddhahood is a state free of all obstructions to knowledge and disturbing emotions. It is the state in which the mind is fully evolved.

*

From the earliest stages of our growth, are completely dependent upon our mother’s care and it is very important for us that she express her love. If children do not receive proper affection, in later life they will often find it hard to love others.

*

Through actual practice in his daily life, man well fulfils the aim of all religion, whatever his denomination.

*

We can speak of an effect and a cause on the disturbing side as well as on the liberating side.

*

According to Buddhist practice, there are three states or steps. The initial stage is to reduce attachment towards life. The second stage is the elimination of desire and attachment to this samsara. Then the third stage, self-cherishing is eliminated.

*

Encountering sufferings will definitely contribute to the elevation of your spiritual practice, provided you are able to transform the calamity and misfortune into the path.

*

Faith dispels doubt and hesitation, it liberates you from suffering and delivers you to the city of peace and happiness.

*

Suffering increases your inner strength. Also, wishing for suffering makes the suffering disappear.

*

Even when we are helping others and are engaged in charity work, we should not regard ourselves in a very haughty way as great protectors benefitting the weak.

*

The creatures that inhabit this earth—be they human beings or animals—are here to contribute, each in its own particular way, to the beauty and prosperity of the world.

*

We are born and reborn countless number of times, and it is possible that each being has been our parent at one time or another. Therefore, it is likely that all beings in this universe have familial connections.

*

The process of dying begins with the dissolution of the elements within the body. It has eight stages, beginning with the dissolution of the earth element, then the water, fire and wind elements. The next four stages are visions in terms of colour: appearance of a white vision, increase of the red element, black near-attainment, and finally the clear light of death.

*

Do your best and do it according to your own inner standard—call it conscience—not just according to society’s knowledge and judgement of your deeds.

*

For discovering one’s true inner nature. I think one should try to take some time, with quiet and relaxation, to think more inwardly and to investigate the inner world.

*

When one is very involved in hatred or attachment, if there is time or possibility during that very moment, just try to look inward and ask: ‘What is attachment? What is the nature of anger?’

*

Anything that contradicts experience and logic should be abandoned.

*

It is through listening that your mind will turn with faith and devotion, and you will be able to cultivate joy within your mind and make your mind stable.

*

Laziness will stop your progress in your spiritual practice.

*

When a day seems to be long, idle gossip makes our day seem shorter. But it is one of the worst ways in which we waste out time. If a tailor just holds the needle in his hand and goes on talking to a customer, the tailoring does not get finished. Besides, the needle might prick his finger. In short, meaningless gossip prevents us from doing any kind of work.

*

If you rely on someone who has lower qualities than yourself, that will lead to your degeneration. If you rely on someone who has qualities similar to yourself, you will stay where you are. It is only if you rely on someone who has better qualities than yourself, that you will achieve sublime status.

*

The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well being.

*

The problems we encounter are never the result of starting a project or work on an inappropriate day or time. Buddha always talked about negative experiences as the result of having performed negative actions. So, for a good practitioner there is no good day or bad day.

*

There is no way to escape death. It is just like trying to escape when you are surrounded by four great mountains touching the sky. There is no escape from these four mountains of birth, old age, sickness and death.

*

Ageing destroys youth, sickness destroys health, degeneration of life destroys all excellent qualities and death destroys life. Even if you are a great runner, you cannot run away from death. You cannot stop death with your wealth, through your magic performances or recitation of mantras or even medicines. Therefore it is wise to prepare for your death.

*

Discipline is a supreme ornament and, whether worn by old, young or middle-aged, it gives birth only to happiness. It is perfume par excellence and, unlike ordinary perfumes which travel only with the wind, its refreshing aroma travels spontaneously in all directions. A peerless ointment, it brings relief from the hot pains of delusion.

*

A blossoming tree becomes bare and stripped in autumn. Beauty changes in ugliness, youth into old age, and fault into virtue. Things do not remain the same and nothing really exists. Thus appearances and emptiness exist simultaneously.

*

Some people who are sweet and attractive, strong and healthy, happen to die young. They are masters is disguise teaching us about impermanence.

*