The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

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The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:25 pm

Here is my version of the 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World:

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is the first known list of the most remarkable man-made creations of classical antiquity, and was based on guide-books popular among Hellenic sight-seers and only includes works located around the Mediterranean rim. The number seven was chosen because the Greeks believed it to be the representation of perfection and plenty. Many similar lists have been made, including lists for the Medieval World and the Modern World.

Since this is a Buddhist list, eight are chosen here (The Noble Eightfold Middle Path makes 8 a significant number). There are numerous landmark Buddhist sites, so to help narrow down the list, this list focuses on the early teachings of Buddhism; the Theravada.

1. The Maha Bodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, India marks the sport where the Buddha attained enlightenment. It was most likely first built by King Ashoka in the third century B.C. It is the holiest place in Buddhism, due to the fact that this is the place of enlightenment, the goal and purpose of the Dhamma.

2. Ruwanwelisaya Great Stupa - The Ruwanwelisaya (also written as Ruvanvalisaya) is a stupa in Sri Lanka, considered a marvel for its architectural qualities and sacred to many Buddhists all over the world. Simply known also as the Great Stupa, the Ruvanvalisaya was constructed by Dutthagamani after he became king in 161 BCE. Any list of the 8 Wonders of the Theravada Buddhist world must include at least one example from Sri Lanka, considering its importance in the history of Theravada Buddhism.

When it was finally completed, it was one of the wonders of the ancient world, with a diameter of 90 meters at the base and a height of 92 meters (300 ft) and circumference of 292 meters (950 ft). The stupa is one of the world's tallest monuments and was the fifth tallest structure of any kind when it was built in approximately 161 BCE.

3. World's largest book: the Tipitaka at Kuthodaw Pagoda - The Tipitaka is inscribed on 729 marbles slabs at Kuthodaw Pagoda, in Mandalay, Burma (Myanmar). The Tipitaka represents the oldest and original teachings of the Buddha. These slabs are considered as the world's largest book of any kind.

4. Shwedagon Pagoda is the holiest site in Burma (Myanmar). It was most likely built sometime between the 6th and 10th centuries. According to legends, there are relics from the last four Buddhas enshrined in the Pagoda.

5. Angkor Wat in Cambodia is the largest Buddhist structure and complex in history. The outer wall encloses 820,000 square meters. It started as a Hindu temple in the 12th century and became a Buddhist temple about 100 years later and has remained a Theravada Buddhist temple ever since.

6. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, Thailand is considered the holiest temple in Thailand. The statue dates to 1434 and the temple was constructed beginning in 1785.

7. The Global Pagoda is a monument being built in Mumbai, India. The Global Pagoda is built out of gratitude to the Buddha, his teaching and the community of monks practicing his teaching. Its traditional Burmese design is an expression of gratitude towards the country of Myanmar (Burma) for preserving the practice of vipassana.

The inside of the pagoda is hollow and serves as a very large meditation hall with an area covering more than 6000 m2 (65,000 ft2). This magnificent structure represents the rapid spread of the Dhamma assisted by teachers such as S. N. Goenka who is the leader of the project and also that the Dhamma is coming back home, to India.

8. The internet and internet forums - In November 2006 the newspaper USA Today, named the internet as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. This is appropriate for this Theravada Buddhist list too because a sizeable percentage of modern Buddhists now receive their Buddhist information and instruction off the internet. Numerous online forums exist to discuss the Dhamma, such as Dhamma Wheel. Monks and nuns also participate in these forums and offer advice and teachings via blogs, websites, and forums.


Complete article with photos can be seen here:
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... hist_World


Would you do the list any differently?
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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:32 pm

Photos of my choices of the 8 Wonders:

Image
1. Maha Bodhi Temple

Image
2. Ruwanwelisaya Great Stupa

Image
3. World's largest book: the Tipitaka at Kuthodaw Pagoda

Image
4. Shwedagon Pagoda

Image
5. Angkor Wat

Image
6. The Emerald Buddha

Image
7. The Global Pagoda

:coffee:
8. Internet forums
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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:34 pm

Image
Sagaing Hills would be in my list rather than the Dambulla cave temple.
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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby dragonwarrior » Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:59 am

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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby BudSas » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:41 pm

Winny wrote:Borobudur in Central Java


Thanks, Winny. Borobudur should be included in the list. It is recognized by UNESCO in their World Heritage List.

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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:04 pm

Hi Winny and BDS,

Great photos and good points. I agree with you guys, Borobodur should be on the list. It is also the largest Buddhist temple. Angkor Wat is larger, but was originally a Hindu temple.
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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby Bankei » Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:09 am

The cave temples of Ajanta also seem impressive (I haven't been yet though)
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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby cooran » Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:52 am

Hello all,

Burma (Myanmar) is beautiful ~ I think the temples at Bagan should be near the top of any list of 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World, or of the world in general.
http://images.google.com.au/images?hl=e ... a=N&tab=wi

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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby Ben » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:44 am

Bankei wrote:The cave temples of Ajanta also seem impressive (I haven't been yet though)


They're incredible. I was there 20 years ago. Close by, but not as impressive, are the caves of Ellora. If you're in the area, they're also worth checking out.
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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:24 pm

cooran wrote:Burma (Myanmar) is beautiful ~ I think the temples at Bagan should be near the top of any list of 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World, or of the world in general.


:thumbsup: Yes, they are truly beautiful.

Unfortunately a list of 8 will never be enough; there are too many beautiful and important places out there. Here is some of the rationale I used when initially choosing the eight:

1. The Maha Bodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya:
A no-brainer, the most important and holiest spot in Buddhism.

2. Ruwanwelisaya Great Stupa - The Ruwanwelisaya (also written as Ruvanvalisaya) is a stupa in Sri Lanka, considered a marvel for its architectural qualities and sacred to many Buddhists all over the world. Simply known also as the Great Stupa, the Ruvanvalisaya was constructed by Dutthagamani after he became king in 161 BCE. Any list of the 8 Wonders of the Theravada Buddhist world must include at least one example from Sri Lanka, considering its importance in the history of Theravada Buddhism.

When it was finally completed, it was one of the wonders of the ancient world, with a diameter of 90 meters at the base and a height of 92 meters (300 ft) and circumference of 292 meters (950 ft). The stupa is one of the world's tallest monuments and was the fifth tallest structure of any kind when it was built in approximately 161 BCE.

edit - changed from The Sacred tooth temple to Dambulla to this.

3. World's largest book: the Tipitaka at Kuthodaw Pagoda- The Tipitaka is inscribed on 729 marbles slabs at Kuthodaw Pagoda, in Mandalay, Burma (Myanmar). The Tipitaka represents the oldest and original teachings of the Buddha. These slabs are considered as the world's largest book of any kind.

edit - changed to this since this is a man-made wonder, rather than a natural one (Dambulla caves)

4. Shwedagon Pagoda is the holiest site in Burma (Myanmar).
Considered by most to be the holiest and most important site from Burma. Any list of 8 must include at least one representative temple from Burma.

5. Angkor Wat in Cambodia is the largest Buddhist structure and complex in history.
The most important site in Cambodia and for its significance as the largest temple in history.

6. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, Thailand is considered the holiest temple in Thailand.
Considered by most to be the holiest and most important site from Thailand. Any list of 8 must include at least one representative temple from Thailand.

7. The Global Pagoda in Mumbai, India.
I thought it would be good to include another representative from India, the birthplace of Buddhism and for a slight change from others on the list, a modern piece of architecture. And to acknowledge the great contribution of S. N. Goenka.

8. The internet and internet forums
But, of course, the internet, for a list written using the internet. :tongue:

:coffee:
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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby Samuel » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:45 am

The Sri Dalada Maligawa or The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a temple in the city of Kandy in Sri Lanka:
Perhaps the only genuine actual relic of the Buddha left in the known world.

You obviously haven't seen the "relic". It's clearly man made, shaped like a long bended cone with a round tip and a perfectly flat surface where the root should be. It's probably made of ivory. You can see a picture of the "relic" on this link. That anyone who's seen it can believe that it is a human tooth amazes me.
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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:05 pm

Samuel wrote:You obviously haven't seen the "relic". It's clearly man made, shaped like a long bended cone with a round tip and a perfectly flat surface where the root should be. It's probably made of ivory.


Okay, thanks for that. No, I haven't seen it before, I just heard that it has been at that temple some 200 years or more BCE, so assumed it might be real.

That is a real picture of the relic? If so, then I probably agree with you. I'm not a big 'fan' of the 32 marks of a 'great man' either, so don't think that gives any more credence to the relic. The 32 marks is a pre-Buddhist Brahmanism concept.
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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby Samuel » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:48 am

I just heard that it has been at that temple some 200 years or more BCE, so assumed it might be real.

So the story goes. But even the legend says that the tooth relic was once destroyed by an evil king. After that, with the power of the great paramis of the Buddha, the tooth magically re-emerged and rose to the sky shining like a bright star before landing in its right place in the temple...
The truth is probably that someone wanted the relic back to keep bringing in money and power to the temple, and thus created a new one. One might wonder why that person didn't make an effort to make the copy more realistic - or just use a real tooth from a dead person. And why nobody has ever questioned the obvious scam. Sri Dalada Maligawa is still one of the most powerful Buddhist temples in the world, drenched in money and politics. Hardly a great Wonder of the Buddhist world, I'd say. Unless we talk about the scam itself.
That is a real picture of the relic? If so, then I probably agree with you. I'm not a big 'fan' of the 32 marks of a 'great man' either, so don't think that gives any more credence to the relic. The 32 marks is a pre-Buddhist Brahmanism concept.

Yes, the photo is authentic. (There is, however, an exact replica made of the tooth relic. There's a chance that the photo actually shows that copy, since the original is considered too holy to be exposed openly at all times. In any case that's exactly what the "relic" looks like.)
The mentions of the 32 (or 80) marks of a great man in the sutta was probably an important way of convincing skeptics about the authenticity of the Buddha's enlightenment. Many similar strategies were included in the suttas for "the benefit of the many". Unfortunately, today most such added details usually have the opposite effect.
Last edited by retrofuturist on Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Reference to "lies" removed
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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby cooran » Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:36 am

Hello Samuel,

The 32 Marks of a Great Man are not supposed to be taken literally as physical qualities, but have always been seen to represent characteristics of the Great Being.

THIRTY TWO MARKS OF A GREAT MAN
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/32marks2.htm

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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:53 am

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:54 pm

tiltbillings wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World's_largest_book


Yes, that is a good one. I used that to replace the 'Sacred Tooth' one to update the original page I made:

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... hist_World
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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby Samuel » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:34 am

The 32 Marks of a Great Man are not supposed to be taken literally as physical qualities, but have always been seen to represent characteristics of the Great Being.

That's just not historically true, but rather one of those ideas that have been spread among Buddhists later on to justify outdated legends in the suttas. The fact is that the 32 marks were definitely considered to be actual physical attributes of the Buddha. We can see this in many suttas, i.e. where the Buddha shows his sexual organs to prove that they are concealed in a sheath (one of the 32 marks). It's not the topic of this thread, but I wanted to clarify this. Hope that's alright.
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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby dhammastudier » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:25 pm

Manapa wrote:Image
Sagaing Hills would be in my list rather than the Dambulla cave temple.


wow that is a magical looking place!
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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:07 am

I just finished reading a great book on the history of Sri Lanka:

Island of Light, by T Y Lee:

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... d_of_Light

After reading about the Ruwanwelisaya Great Stupa and the amazing size of it, considering it was built around 161 BCE, I put that on the list instead of the Dambulla Cave Temple. Anyway, typically wonders of the world refer to man-made structures and not natural ones, such as the cave temples. So I edited some of the posts above to reflect my new version of this list and updated the Dhamma Wiki page:

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... hist_World
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Re: The 8 Wonders of the Buddhist World

Postby Sambodhi in Oz » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:59 pm

I am sort of surprised that

1. the stupa at sarnath (deer park) where the dhamma was first taught,
2. the remains of Anathpindaka, jetvana monastry where Buddha spent most of his time
3. Kushinagara, where Buddha decided to attain his parinibbana

do not find mention in the list. I think eight is not enough.

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