Prayers and Practice for Bodh Gaya…

“Security personnel inspect the site of an explosion inside the Mahabodhi temple complex at Bodh Gaya, Bihar on July 7.” Photo by Krishna Murari Kishan for Reuters.

As many of you reading have probably heard by now, there has been a coordinated series of bombing attacks at Bodh Gaya, the site of the historical Buddha’s enlightenment. Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Online reports:

Starting at 5:30 am, nine serial explosions occurred, beginning with four on the grounds of the Mahabodhi temple… One bomb destroyed the altar in front of the Bodhi Tree (thought to be a direct descendant of the original), though the tree was unharmed. Two monks were injured in the initial blast at the altar, Ashin Vilasagga from Burma, and Tenzing Lama from Tibet.

Three more blasts occurred at nearby Tergar Monastery, founded by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, and one each in front of [the Great Buddha Statue] and at a local bus stop. Indian authorities discovered and defused three more explosive devices in the area.  No other casualties were reported.

Buddhadharma has links to other reports, photos, and more.

In addition, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa has issued an official statement on the attacks, saying:

As yet we do not know why or by whom this sacred site was targeted. However, I am convinced that, as Buddhists, in responding to this situation, the best homage we can pay to Lord Buddha is to uphold his teachings on love and ahimsa (non-violence).

I ask you, therefore, to remain calm and refrain from any further escalation of the violence. I offer my prayers for the victims and their families, and call on Buddhists everywhere to truly embrace the wisdom of Lord Buddha’s teachings in all that we do.

His Holiness’ statement will no doubt be followed by many others from Buddhist leaders in the coming days. All, I hope, will sound the same notes as His Holiness. As one of my students reminded our University of the West Buddhist Chaplaincy Department on Facebook today, as it is taught in the Dhammapada:

“Look how he abused me and beat me,
How he threw me down and robbed me.”
Live with such thoughts and you live in hate.

“Look how he abused me and beat me,
How he threw me down and robbed me.”
Abandon such thoughts and live in love.

In this world
Hate never yet dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law,
Ancient and inexhaustible.

[UPDATE: I see that my always wise and compassionate buddy Justin Whitaker shared the same passage at his essential corner of Patheos as well.]

Bodh Gaya has twice been my home. I lived there for several months in 1999 and again in 2006. I’m heartsick over this terrible thing. I’m thinking of friends there, as well as saying lots of prayers and doing lots of practice. May we meet this with the best of our practice. And may there be love and peace — above, below, all around, unobstructed by enmity or hate — across the whole of the world.

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