Buddhist park to come up at Silao

by Pranava K Chaudhary, TNN , Mar 17, 2011

PATNA, India -- There's good news for Buddhist pilgrims visiting Rajgir and Nalanda - a park dedicated to the historic meeting between Buddha and Maha Kassapa will be set up soon at Silao, a short distance from here, on way to Rajgir. While its site will be inaugurated on Friday, the designing and construction will take some time.

Maha Kassapa, from Magadh region, was a key disciple of Buddha, who became patriarch of the Sangha after the Mahaparinirvana. He presided over the first Buddhist council at Rajgriha (now Rajgir).

Pali literature mentions that the meeting between the two took place between Rajgriha and Nalanda. In 1934, an 8th century stone sculpture was discovered that bore an inscription mentioning this meeting. Over a period of time though, all information about this discovery was lost, except for the picture and inscription translation, which were published in the Epigraphica Indica Vol XXV.

With the help of information from this book, local amateur archaeologist Deepak Anand and Silao people made efforts to rediscover this stone sculpture. It was finally found lying in one of the storerooms of a temple in Silao.

Following a petition by Silao villagers, Nalanda DM has now taken the lead in this ambitious plan to create a Maha Kassapa Park. This will be a heritage park on Buddhist theme, dedicated to life and works of Maha Kassapa. Experienced architects would be employed for its design, said an official.

The department of Buddhist studies, Nava Nalanda Mahavihara (NNM), an autonomous university, in the past, worked on the legacies of Sariputta and Maha Moggallana by organising walks to commemorate their parinirvana. NNM is now planning to develop a calendar of events to celebrate the legacy of these three luminaries of Magadh: Sariputta, Maha Moggallana and Maha Kassapa.