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Important Facts For Prelims

Ancient Buddhist Monastery Found in Jharkhand

  • 26 Feb 2021
  • 2 min read

Why in News

The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has unearthed a Buddhist monastery, believed to be at least 900 years old, buried under a mound in a village near Juljul Pahar of Sitagarhi Hills in Jharkhand.

  • Earlier an ancient Buddhist shrine, buried under a similar mound was found, close to this site.

Key Points

  • Artifacts Unearthed:
    • Four statues of deity Tara in Varad Mudra (gesture of hand showing dispensing of boons).
      • Nagri Script on Tara Statue: Nagri was a previous version of Devnagri script and the words indicate Buddhist religious affiliation.
    • Six statues of the Buddha in Bhumisparsha Mudra (gesture of hand showing five fingers of right hand towards the earth symbolising the Buddha’s enlightenment).
    • A sculpture which appears to be that of Shaivite deity Maheswari - with a coiled crown and chakra - indicating cultural assimilation in the area.

  • Significance of the Findings:
    • The findings are significant since the monastery is on the old route to Varanasi, 10 km from Sarnath, where the Buddha gave his first sermon.
    • The presence of statues of deity Tara shows possible proliferation of Vajrayana form of Buddhism in this region.

Vajrayana

  • Vajrayana means “The Vehicle of the Thunderbolt”, also known as tantric Buddhism.
  • This Buddhist school developed in India around 900 CE.
  • It is grounded on esoteric elements and a very complex set of rituals compared with the rest of the Buddhist schools.

Source: IE

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