Sankashya Buddhist Eucation – Project
Where the Blessed One descended from Tushita Heaven
“Four places are always determined in advance:
where the Buddhas shall attain Buddhahood;
where they shall begin to preach;
where they shall expound the law and refute heretics;
and where they shall descend from the Tushita Heaven after having preached to their mothers.
Other places are chosen according to circumstances.” (Fa Hien)
The most westward and perhaps most obscure of the eight places of pilgrimage is Sankashya, whose name may derive from a stupa built there by Kashyapa Buddha’s father and dedicated to his son. This is the last of the four places common to the buddhas of this world.
Some say that during his forty-first year Shakyamuni went up from Shravasti to the Tushita Heaven and passed the rainy season retreat teaching Abhidharma to his mother, Queen Mayadevi, who had died seven days after Buddha’s birth and been reborn as a male god in Tushita. The same happens to the mothers of all the buddhas, and they too later go to teach them, afterwards descending to Sankashya.
Seven days before his descent the Buddha set aside his invisibility. Anuruddha perceived him by his divine sight and urged Maudgalyayana to go and greet him. The great disciple did so, telling the Buddha that the Order longed to see him. This was the time Prasenajit’s statue was made. Shakyamuni replied that in seven days he would return to the world. A great assembly of the kings and people of the eight kingdoms gathered. As the Buddha descended, a flight of gold stairs appeared, down which he came. He was accompanied on the right by Brahma, who, holding a white chowny, descended on a crystal staircase, while to the left Indra came down a flight of silver stairs, holding a jewelled umbrella. A great host of gods followed.
The Buddha bathed immediately after his descent, and later a bathing house and stupa were built to mark the site. Stupas were also raised at the spot where he cut his hair and nails, and where he entered samadhi. The Chinese pilgrims describe further stupas and a chankramana where Shakyamuni and the previous buddhas had walked and sat in meditation.
The three flights of stairs disappeared into the ground, but for seven steps of each, which remained above. When Ashoka came here later he had men dig into the earth around the protrusions in order to discover their depth. Although they reached the level of water, they could not find the stairs’ end. With increased faith, Ashoka then built a temple over them with a standing image of the Buddha above the middle flight. Behind this temple he erected a great pillar surmounted by an elephant capital. Because the tail and trunk had been destroyed, both Chinese pilgrims mistook this for a lion.
Hsuan Chwang tells that the original stairs had existed until a few centuries before his visit, when they disappeared. Various kings built replicas of ornamented brick and stone, with a temple containing images of Shakyamuni, Brahma and Indra above them. These were within the walls of a monastery, which he describes as excellently ornamented and having many fine images. He further says that some hundreds of monks dwelt there and that the community had lay followers. Two centuries earlier Fa Hien found roughly 1,000 monks and nuns living here pursuing their studies, some hinayana and some mahayana. Both pilgrims tell stories of a white-eared dragon who lived close to the monastery, caring for it and the surrounding area. Fa Hien especially remarks on the abundant produce of the land and the prosperity and happiness of the people.
Little seems to be known about Sankashya after the Chinese accounts. In 1862 General Cunningham identified the spot as being located outside an obscure village west of Farruhabad, above Kanpur, on the Ganges. Not much of the ancient glory of the place remains today. Within a deserted, fenced area stands a large mound topped by the crumbling ruins of a Hindu shrine, in which the former image has been replaced by a small representation of the Buddha. The elephant capital of Ashoka’s pillar has been remounted on a ten-foot high pillar beneath a stone canopy. Another small shrine nearby contains a statue of Buddha. The surrounding grounds appear as if they might contain the ruined foundations of former buildings, but if any excavation has ever been done it is buried once more. This is the only one of the eight places of pilgrimage where today there is no temple, monastery or even a solitary monk. Perhaps the wildness of the area is the cause. With or without a dragon’s aid, it may be hoped that this will change.
Sankisa lies in the central Uttar Pradesh, 47 kms. From Farrukhabad on Kali Nadi. It is believed that where Buddha, along with Hindu God Brahma and Devraj Indra, descended from heaven by a ladder of gold or gem, after giving sermon to his mother in heaven, thus making the place a centre of Buddhist pilgrimage. Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese traveler, recorded the construction of ladder by the local prince at the site of the original ladder. He also saw at the site a monastery, a pillar of Ashoka, several Stupas and a mega tank. At the spot of descent, stands a temple with a statue of the Lord Buddha. The place is known for Mauryan Emperor Ashoka’s Pillar.
Buddhist Attractions in Sankhasya
The Buddha Temple: The most important attraction of Sankisa is the Buddha temple situated at the spot where the Buddha descended after His stay in the Tushita heaven. The temple houses a statue of the Buddha.
The Temple of Maya Devi: A small temple dedicated to the mother of the Gautam Buddha is at Sankisa. Maya Devi is regarded as the goddess of fertility by the people. Also to be seen here on the walls are Buddhist sculptures dating back to Mahayana age.
The Ruins of Ashokan Elephant Pillar: This is yet another attraction of the small village. The unique of the pillar, quite obviously, is the presence of elephants instead of lions. The elephant, it is believed, is symbolic of the white elephant of which Mayadevi had a vision at the time of conception of Siddhartha(Lord Buddha).
Shravan Mela: The huge Shravan Mela held in the month of July August also draws large number of tourists to Sankisa.
Kannauj: The erstwhile capital city of the great emperor, Harshavardhan, Kannauj is located at a distance of 80 kms from the city of Kanpur. The past glory of the town has faded, nonetheless, tourists still visit it to see its archeological museum and enjoy the smell of its attar, or perfume.
By Air – The closest airport to reach Sankisa is located in Agra. From Agra, trains and buses run regularly to transfer you to Sankisa.
By Rail – The nearest railway station lies at Pakhna which is at a distance of 12 Km from Sankisa.
By Road – Sankisa is linked to all the major cities of the state by good motor able roads.
Present situation – Around 300 km, there are thousands of Shakya families. Shakya has lost Buddhist culture since long time. Around Sankisa YBS is working for introduce of Buddhism, especially Shakya family is coming back to their own home. Bad luck there is no any approachable Buddhist study center so that people can study and practice there.
Future Plan – we have planned to establish there a center like Nalanda University. Recently we are going to start Nessesry things like Library, meditation hall, lecture hall, Sramner study hall etc. we hope in future we will start all faculty.
Use of the Center – when we see present situation we hope it will be first place in India for Theravada Buddhist practices. There will be run several activities in the center as bellow-
- Meditation camp
- Pali & Sanskrit study
- Sramanera , sramaneri and Anagarika training
- Aware ness camp (environment, organic agriculture training, world peace)
- Modern technology, Vocational tanning & Management (for Buddhist economic program )
- Higher Buddhist Study
- Seminars, conference, cultural & marriage ceremony.
- Buddhist library and literature center
- Dhamma class for Buddhist children & villagers
- We use this center several propose for Buddhist study.
2007–2008 Land Purchase or Leasing
2009–2010 Laying Foundation Stone
2010–2011 Sramanera study and Library completion
2011–2012 Meditation Hall & Accommodation
2012–2013 Class Rooms
2013–2015 Buddha Statues (100 feet)
Finishing Campus completion Ceremony
- land Area 5 Acre [Acre cost*600,000.00Rs = 3,000,000.00Rs] (Project can be start minimum 2 acre land 1,200,000.00 Rs)
- Construction cost 100,000,000.00 Rs (with in 7 years)(Center can be start by 1,000,000.00 Rs)
for detail information please contact us
3 Comments for “Sankashya Buddhist Eucation”
Mahendra jagannath nikamsays:
I like ybs I join ybs function 3, 4, 5 Dec 2018 sankisa
I was overwhelmed to visit this holy place in the month of October 2018 with my children all the way from Gurgaon. These are our roots which were forgotten during the course of time. I would be very happy to visit here again.