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Sarnath
Sarnath
is a place located 10 kilometres north-east in Varanasi
Varanasi
near the confluence of the Ganges
Ganges
and the Varuna rivers in Uttar Pradesh, India. The deer park in Sarnath
Sarnath
is where Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
first taught the Dhamma, and where the Buddhist Sangha
Sangha
came into existence through the enlightenment of Kondanna. Singhpur, a village approximately one kilometre away from the site, was the birthplace of Shreyansanath, the Eleventh Tirthankara
Tirthankara
of Jainism, and a temple dedicated to him, is an important pilgrimage site. Also referred to as Isipatana, this city is mentioned by the Buddha as one of the four places of pilgrimage to which his devout followers should visit, if they wanted to visit a place for that reason.[1] It was also the site of the Buddha's Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, which was his first teaching after attaining enlightenment, in which he taught the four noble truths and the teachings associated with it.

Contents

1 Origin of names 2 History

2.1 Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
at Isipatana 2.2 Isipatana after the Buddha 2.3 Discovery of Isipatana 2.4 Legendary characteristics of Isipatana

3 Jainism 4 Current features of Isipatana 5 Modern-day pilgrimage to Sarnath 6 In English Literature 7 Image gallery 8 See also 9 Notes 10 References 11 External links

Origin of names[edit] Sarnath
Sarnath
has been variously known as Mrigadava, Migadāya, Rishipattana and Isipatana throughout its long history. Mrigadava means "deer-park". Isipatana is the name used in the Pali
Pali
Canon, and means the place where holy men (Pali: isi, Sanskrit: rishi) landed.[2] The legend says that when the Buddha-to-be was born, some devas came down to announce it to 500 rishis. The rishis all rose into the air and disappeared and their relics fell to the ground.[citation needed] Another explanation for the name is that Isipatana was so called because sages, on their way through the air (from the Himalayas), alight here or start from here on their aerial flight (isayo ettha nipatanti uppatanti cāti-Isipatanam). Pacceka Buddhas, having spent seven days in contemplation in the Gandhamādana, bathe in the Anotatta Lake and come to the habitations of men through the air, in search of alms. They descend to earth at Isipatana.[3] Sometimes the Pacceka Buddhas come to Isipatana from Nandamūlaka-pabbhāra.[4] Xuanzang
Xuanzang
quotes the Nigrodhamiga Jātaka (J.i.145ff) to account for the origin of the Migadāya. According to him the Deer Park was a forest given by the king of Benares of the Jātaka, where deer might wander unmolested. The Migadāya was so-called because deer were allowed to roam about there unmolested. Sarnath
Sarnath
derives from the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sāranganātha,[5] which means "Lord of the Deer", and relates to another old Buddhist story in which the Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
is a deer and offers his life to a king instead of the doe the latter is planning to kill. The king is so moved that he creates the park as a sanctuary for deer. The park is active in modern times. History[edit]

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Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
at Isipatana[edit] Before Gautama (the Buddha-to-be) attained enlightenment, he gave up his austere penances and his friends, the Pañcavaggiya monks.[6] Seven weeks after his enlightenment under the Bodhi
Bodhi
tree in Bodh Gaya, Buddha left Uruvela and travelled to Isipatana to rejoin them because, using his spiritual powers, he had seen that his five former companions would be able to understand Dharma
Dharma
quickly. While traveling to Sarnath, Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
had no money with which to pay the ferryman to cross the Ganges, so he crossed it through the air.[citation needed] Later when King Bimbisāra heard of this, he abolished the toll for ascetics. When Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
found and taught his five former companions, they understood and as a result, also became enlightened. At that time the Sangha, the community of the enlightened ones, was founded. The sermon Buddha gave to the five monks was his first sermon, called the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. It was given on the full-moon day of Asalha Puja.[7] Buddha subsequently also spent his first rainy season at Sarnath[8] at the Mulagandhakuti. By then, the Sangha
Sangha
had grown to 60 in number (after Yasa
Yasa
and his friends had become monks), and so Buddha sent them out in all directions to travel alone and teach the Dharma. All 60 monks were Arahants. Several other incidents connected with the Buddha, besides the preaching of the first sermon, are mentioned as having taken place in Isipatana. Here it was that one day at dawn Yasa
Yasa
came to the Buddha and became an Arahant.[9] It was at Isipatana, too, that the rule was passed prohibiting the use of sandals made of talipot leaves.[10] On another occasion when the Buddha was staying at Isipatana, having gone there from Rājagaha, he instituted rules forbidding the use of certain kinds of flesh, including human flesh.[11] Twice, while the Buddha was at Isipatana, Māra visited him but had to go away discomfited.[12]

Gandhara
Gandhara
Greco-Buddhist
Greco-Buddhist
sculpture of Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
delivering his first sermon in the deer park at Sarnath. He preached the Four Noble Truths, the middle path and the Eightfold Path. In the statue, he is seated in Padmasana with his right hand turning the Dharmachakra, resting on a Triratna
Triratna
symbol, flanked on either side by a deer. He is surrounded by five Bhikkhus
Bhikkhus
with shaven heads. In the background, Vajrapani
Vajrapani
and other attendants, including probably princes are seen. Statue on display at the Prince of Wales museum.

Besides the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
mentioned above, several other suttas were preached by the Buddha while staying at Isipatana, among them

the Anattalakkhana Sutta, the Saccavibhanga Sutta, the Pañca Sutta (S.iii.66f), the Rathakāra or Pacetana Sutta (A.i.110f), the two Pāsa Suttas (S.i.105f), the Samaya Sutta (A.iii.320ff), the Katuviya Sutta (A.i.279f.), a discourse on the Metteyyapañha of the Parāyana (A.iii.399f), and the Dhammadinna Sutta (S.v.406f), preached to the distinguished layman Dhammadinna, who came to see the Buddha.

Some of the most eminent members of the Sangha
Sangha
seem to have resided at Isipatana from time to time; among recorded conversations at Isipatana are several between Sariputta
Sariputta
and Mahakotthita,[13] and one between Mahākotthita and Citta-Hatthisariputta.[14] Mention is made, too, of a discourse in which several monks staying at Isipatana tried to help Channa
Channa
in his difficulties.[15] According to the Udapāna Jātaka (J.ii.354ff ) there was a very ancient well near Isipatana which, in the Buddha's time, was used by the monks living there. Isipatana after the Buddha[edit] According to the Mahavamsa, there was a large community of monks at Isipatana in the second century B.C. For, we are told that at the foundation ceremony of the Mahā Thūpa in Anurādhapura, twelve thousand monks were present from Isipatana led by the Elder Dhammasena.[16] Xuanzang[17] found, at Isipatana, fifteen hundred monks studying the Hīnayāna. In the enclosure of the Sanghārāma was a vihāra about two hundred feet high, strongly built, its roof surmounted by a golden figure of the mango. In the centre of the vihāra was a life-size statue of the Buddha turning the wheel of the Law. To the south-west were the remains of a stone stupa built by King Asoka. The Divy. (389-94) mentions Asoka
Asoka
as intimating to Upagupta his desire to visit the places connected with the Buddha's activities, and to erect thupas there. Thus he visited Lumbinī, Bodhimūla, Isipatana, Migadāya and Kusinagara; this is confirmed by Asoka's lithic records, e.g. Rock Edict, viii. In front of it was a stone pillar to mark the spot where the Buddha preached his first sermon. Nearby was another stupa on the site where the Pañcavaggiyas spent their time in meditation before the Buddha's arrival, and another where five hundred Pacceka Buddhas entered Nibbāna. Close to it was another building where the future Buddha Metteyya received assurance of his becoming a Buddha.

The Bala Boddhisattva, an important statue for dating Indian art, was dedicated in "the year 3 of Kanishka" (circa 123 CE) and was discovered at Sarnath.

Buddhism
Buddhism
flourished in Sarnath
Sarnath
in part because of kings and wealthy merchants based in Varanasi. By the third century Sarnath
Sarnath
had become an important center for the arts, which reached its zenith during the Gupta period (4th to 6th centuries CE). In the 7th century by the time Xuanzang
Xuanzang
visited from China, he found 30 monasteries and 3000 monks living at Sarnath. Sarnath
Sarnath
became a major centre of the Sammatiya school of Buddhism, one of the early Buddhist schools. However, the presence of images of Heruka
Heruka
and Tara indicate that Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Buddhism
Buddhism
was (at a later time) also practiced here. Also images of Brahminist gods as Shiva
Shiva
and Brahma
Brahma
were found at the site, and there is still a Jain
Jain
temple (at Chandrapuri) located very close to the Dhamekh Stupa. At the end of the 12th century Sarnath
Sarnath
was sacked by Turkish Muslims, and the site was subsequently plundered for building materials. Discovery of Isipatana[edit] Isipatana is identified with the modern Sarnath, six miles from Benares. Alexander Cunningham[18] found the Migadāya represented by a fine wood, covering an area of about half a mile, extending from the great tomb of Dhamekha on the north to the Chaukundi mound on the south. Legendary characteristics of Isipatana[edit] According to the Buddhist commentarial scriptures, all the Buddhas preach their first sermon at the Migadāya in Isipatana. It is one of the four avijahitatthānāni (unchanging spots), the others being the bodhi-pallanka, the spot at the gate of Sankassa, where the Buddha first touched the earth on his return from Tāvatimsa, and the site of the bed in the Gandhakuti in Jetavana[19] In past ages Isipatana sometimes retained its own name, as it did in the time of Phussa Buddha (Bu.xix.18), Dhammadassī Buddha (BuA.182) and Kassapa Buddha
Kassapa Buddha
(BuA.218). Kassapa was born there (ibid., 217). But more often Isipatana was known by different names (for these names see under those of the different Buddhas). Thus in the time of Vipassī Buddha, it was known as Khema-uyyāna. It is the custom for all Buddhas to go through the air to Isipatana to preach their first sermon. Gotama Buddha, however, walked all the way, eighteen leagues, because he knew that by so doing he would meet Upaka, the Ajivaka, to whom he could be of service.[20] Jainism[edit]

Shri Digambar Jain
Jain
Temple, Singhpuri, Sarnath, Varanasi

Sarnath
Sarnath
is the birthplace of the 11th teerthankar of current tirthankar Shri Shreyansanatha
Shreyansanatha
Bhagwan. It is the place where 4 of the 5 kalyanak (auspicious life events) of Shri Shreyansnath Bhagwan took place.

Shri Digambar Jain
Jain
Shreyansnath Mandir, Singhpuri, Sarnath

It is the place of 4 kalyanak of Shri Shreyansnath Bhagwan. A huge ashtakod stoop (octagonal pillar) of 103 feet height is still present showing its historical establishment. As per them it is considered to be 2200 years old. Moolnayak of this temple is a blue colored idol of Shri Shreyansnath Bhagwan of height 75 cm in Padmāsana. The artistic work of this temple is unmatched. Current features of Isipatana[edit]

Ancient Buddhist monasteries near Dhamekh Stupa
Dhamekh Stupa
Monument Site, Sarnath

Ashoka pillar
Ashoka pillar
capital of Sarnath.

Most of the ancient buildings and structures at Sarnath
Sarnath
were damaged or destroyed by the Turks. However, amongst the ruins can be distinguished:

The Dhamek Stupa; it is an impressive 128 feet high and 93 feet in diameter. The Dharmarajika Stupa
Stupa
is one of the few pre-Ashokan stupas remaining, although only the foundations remain. The rest of the Dharmarajika Stupa
Stupa
was removed to Varanasi
Varanasi
to be used as building materials in the 18th century. At that time, also relics were found in the Dharmarajika Stupa. These relics were subsequently thrown in the Ganges
Ganges
river. The Chaukhandi Stupa
Chaukhandi Stupa
commemorates the spot where the Buddha met his first disciples, dating back to the fifth century or earlier and later enhanced by the addition of an octagonal tower of Islamic origin. In recent years it is undergoing restoration. The ruins of the Mulagandhakuti vihara mark the place where the Buddha spent his first rainy season. The modern Mulagandhakuti Vihara
Vihara
is a monastery built in the 1930s by the Sri Lankan Mahabodhi Society, with beautiful wall paintings.[21] Behind it is the Deer Park (where deer are still to be seen). The Ashoka
Ashoka
Pillar erected here, originally surmounted by the "Lion Capital of Asoka" (presently on display at the Sarnath
Sarnath
Museum), was broken during Turk invasions but the base still stands at the original location. The Sarnath
Sarnath
Archeological Museum houses the famous Ashokan lion capital, which miraculously survived its 45-foot drop to the ground (from the top of the Ashokan Pillar), and became the National Emblem of India
India
and national symbol on the Indian flag. The museum also houses a famous and refined Buddha-image of the Buddha in Dharmachakra-posture. There is also a Bodhi
Bodhi
tree planted by Anagarika Dharmapala
Anagarika Dharmapala
which was grown from a cutting of the Bodhi Tree
Bodhi Tree
at Bodh Gaya.

For Buddhists, Sarnath
Sarnath
(or Isipatana) is one of four pilgrimage sites designated by Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya, and Lumbini. Modern-day pilgrimage to Sarnath[edit] Sarnath
Sarnath
has been developed as a place of pilgrimage, both for Buddhists from India
India
and abroad. A number of countries in which Buddhism
Buddhism
is a major (or the dominant) religion, among them Thailand, Japan, Tibet, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
and Myanmar, have established temples and monasteries in Sarnath
Sarnath
in the style that is typical for the respective country. Thus, pilgrims and visitors have the opportunity to experience an overview of Buddhist architecture
Buddhist architecture
from various cultures. In English Literature[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original text related to this article: 'Sarnat, a Boodh Monument' a poem by L. E. L.

The plate on which Letitia Elizabeth Landon's poem Sarnat, a Boodh Monument is based shows its then run-down condition, and her words, comparing the religions of the world, pick up on the apparent weakness of Buddhism
Buddhism
in the country of its origin at that time (1832). Image gallery[edit]

Dharmarajika Stupa
Stupa
from the pre-Ashokan Era

Brahmi Inscriptures on the main pillar

Buddha image at Sarnath

Interior of Sri Digamber Jain
Jain
Shreyansnath Mandir

Temple of the Tibetan community in Sarnath

Mulagandhakuti Vihara, Sri Lankan Buddhist temple
Buddhist temple
at Sarnath

Mauryan head from Sarnath.

Sarnath
Sarnath
Mauryan capital.

Sarnath
Sarnath
capital with elephant.

Sarnath
Sarnath
- Plan of Excavations

See also[edit]

Adi Badri (Haryana) Pillars of Ashoka Buddhist pilgrimage Kanaganahalli
Kanaganahalli
and Sannati
Sannati
in North Karnataka

Religion portal Varanasi
Varanasi
portal Buddhism
Buddhism
portal

Notes[edit]

^ (D.ii.141) ^ Sen, Dr. A. (2008). Buddhist remains in India. Calcutta: Maha Bodhi Book Agency. pp. 30–34. ISBN 81-87032-78-2.  ^ MA.i.387; AA.i.347 adds that sages also held the uposatha at Isipatana ^ (MA.ii.1019; PsA.437-8) ^ Schuman, Hans Wolfgang (2004). The Historical Buddha: The Times, Life, and Teachings of the Founder of Buddhism. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 67.  ^ J.i.68 ^ Vin.i.10f.; on this occasion 80 kotis of Brahmas and innumerable gods attained the comprehension of the Truth (Mil.30); (130 kotis says Mil.350). The Lal. (528) gives details of the stages of this journey. ^ BuA., p.3 ^ Vin.i.15f ^ Vin.i.189 ^ Vin.i.216ff.; the rule regarding human flesh was necessary because Suppiyā made broth out of her own flesh for a sick monk. ^ S.i.105f ^ S.ii.112f;iii.167f;iv.162f; 384ff ^ (A.iii.392f) ^ S.iii.132f) ^ Mhv.xxix.31) ^ Beal: Records of the Western World, ii.45ff ^ Arch. Reports, i. p. 107 ^ (BuA.247; DA.ii.424). ^ DA.ii.471) ^ Nakamura, Hajime (2000). Gotama Buddha. Kosei. p. 267. ISBN 4-333-01893-5. 

References[edit]

Rai Bahadur Daya Ram Sahni: Guide to the Buddhist Ruins of Sarnath with a Plan of Excavations and Five Photographic Plates. Archaeological Survey of India, Delhi 1922

Reprint: Antiquarian Book House, Delhi/Varanasi, 1982-1983

Satyarth Nayak: The emperor's riddles
The emperor's riddles
2014

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sarnath.

Sarnath
Sarnath
travel guide from Wikivoyage Entry on Isipatana in the Buddhist Dictionary of Pali
Pali
Proper Names Description of Sarnath
Sarnath
by the Chinese pilgrim monk Faxian
Faxian
(399-414 AC) Sarnath
Sarnath
India
India
Art Architecture Archcelogy History Culture Study Project Sarnath
Sarnath
Temple

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Faculty of Ayurveda Institute of Medical Sciences

Colleges

Arya Mahila Mahavidyalaya DAV Post Graduate College Faculty of Arts Faculty of Commerce Faculty of Science Faculty of Social Sciences Harish Chandra Postgraduate College Mahila Maha Vidyalaya SMS Sri Agrasen Kanya P.G. College Subhash Chandra Mahavidyalaya Sunbeam College for Women Udai Pratap Autonomous College Vasant Kanya Mahavidyalaya Vasanta College for Women

CBSE schools

Central Hindu Boys School Central Hindu Girls School Delhi Public School Guru Nanak English School Raj English School Sant Atulanand Convent School

UP board schools

C.M. Anglo Bengali College

ICSE schools

St Joseph's Convent School St.John's School,Varanasi W. H. Smith Memorial School

Places of worship

Buddhist temples

Sarnath

Churches

St. Mary's Cathedral of Varanasi

Hindu temples

Aghori

Baba Keenaram Sthal

Bharat Mata

Bharat Mata
Bharat Mata
Mandir

Durga
Durga
or her Avatar

Durga
Durga
Mandir Sankata Devi Mandir

Hanuman

Sankat Mochan Mandir

Parvati
Parvati
or her Avatar

Annapurna Devi Mandir Lalita Gauri Mandir Vishalakshi Temple

Shiva
Shiva
or his Avatar

Kaal Bhairav Mandir Kashi Vishwanath Temple Mrityunjay Mahadev Mandir Nepali Mandir New Vishwanath Mandir (Birla Mandir) Shri Tilbhandeshwar Mahadev Mandir

Others

Tulsi Manas Mandir

Mosques

Gyanvapi Mosque

Ravidasis

Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan

Ghats

Assi Ghat Dashashwamedh Ghat Ganga Mahal Ghat
Ghat
(I) Lalita Ghat Manikarnika Ghat Munshi Ghat Sant Ravidas Ghat Scindia Ghat Tulsi Ghat

Point of interest

Ashoka
Ashoka
Stambh Bharat Kala Bhawan Bharat Mata
Bharat Mata
Mandir Ganges Ghats Jantar Mantar Ramnagar Fort

Hospitals

Sir Sunderlal Hospital

v t e

Archaeological sites in India

Andhra Pradesh

Amaravati, Andhra Anupu Bavikonda Bhattiprolu Biccavolu Bojjannakonda Dharanikota Dantapuram Ghantasala, India Goli fort Gooty Gudimallam Gudiwada Dibba, Vizianagaram Gurramkonda Jaggaiahpet Jwalapuram Kotturu Dhanadibbalu Lepakshi Madakasira Nagarjunakonda Pavurallakonda Penukonda Ramatheertham Salihundam Tadpatri Thotlakonda Undavalli caves Yaganti

Arunachal Pradesh

Bhalukpong Bhismaknagar Gomsi Ita Fort

Assam

Joysagar Kamakhya Hill Maibong

Bihar

Agam Kuan Areraj Barabar Caves Kavadol Kesaria Kukkutarama Kumhrar Nalanda Rajgir Sonbhandar Vaishali Vikramashila

Chhattisgarh

Sirpur

Goa

Arvalem Caves Chandore

Gujarat

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park Desalpur Dholavira Dholka City Ghumli Lothal Modhera Rani ki vav Sarkhej Roza Surkotada Talaja Umta Vadnagar

Haryana

Agroha Mound Asigarh Fort Bhirrana Jhajjar Narnaul Rakhigarhi Thanesar

Himachal Pradesh

Kangra Fort Masrur Temples

Jammu and Kashmir

Ambaran Awantipura Harwan Martand Sun Temple Parihaspura

Jharkhand

Barwadi Punkhri Belwadag Dalmi Guhiapal Isko Itkhori Kalhua Pahari Rajmahal Nautangwa Sidpa Satpahar

Karnataka

Aihole Badami Bijapur Brahmagiri archaeological site Byse Halebidu Hampi Hirebenkal Kallur archaeological site Kanaganahalli Kupgal petroglyphs Lakkundi Maski Morera Thatte Pattadakal Sanganakallu Shravanabelagola Sudi Watgal

Kerala

Anakkara megalithic necropolis Ariyannur Bekal Fort Cheraman Parambu Chermanangad Chowannur Eyyal Kandanissery Kattakambal Kunnamkulam Muziris Tangasseri Thovarimala Ezhuthupara Ummichipoyil Vizhinjam rock caves

Madhya Pradesh

Gwalior Fort Mandu Orchha Panguria, India Sanchi Silhara Talpur (archaeological site) Thoban Udaygiri Caves

Maharashtra

Ajanta Caves Bedse Caves Bhaja Caves Daimabad Ellora Caves Ghorawadi Caves Karla Caves Kanheri Caves Kharosa Lenyadri Mansar Nala Sopara Pitalkhora

Odisha

Jaugada Kharligarh Pushpagiri Sisupalgarh

Punjab

Qila Mubarak Rupnagar Sanghol

Sikkim

Rabdentse

Tamil Nadu

Adichanallur Kalugumalai Keelathooval Mahabalipuram Sittanavasal Cave Subrahmanya Temple, Saluvankuppam

Telangana

Alampur Dhulikatta Kolanpaka Nelakondapalli Phanigiri Warangal fort

Tripura

Devtamura Pilak Unakoti

Uttarakand

Jagatgram Jageshwar

Uttar Pradesh

Ahichatra Bhitargaon Kaushambi Kulpahar Kushinagar

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