The Temple of Sanchi

Photo 1: Temple of Sanchi #1 - Potshot 18.
Photo 2: Pillar at Temple of Sanchi
Photo 3: Temple of Sanchi #2 - Potshot 18
Photo 4: Buddha's Footprints- Sanchi Temple
Photo 5: Elephant & Tree of Life - Sanchi Temple
Photo 6: Temple of Sanchi #3- Potshot 18

" The Hill of Sanchi is situated about 9 kilometres south-west of Vidisha in Madhaya Pradesh, India. Crowning the hilltop of Sanchi nearly 91 metres in height, a group of Buddhist monuments commands a grand view even from a distance. It is unique not only in its having the most perfect and well-preserved stupas but also in its offering a wide and educative field for the study of the genesis, efflorescence and decay of Buddhist art and architecture for a period of about thirteen hundred years, from the third century B.C. to the twelfth century, A.D., almost covering the whole range of Indian Buddhism. This is rather surprising, for Sanchi was not hallowed by any incident in Buddha's life; not is it known to have been the focus of any significant event in the history of Buddhist monachism. Hiuen Tsang, who so meticulously recorded the details connected with Buddhist monuments, is silent about it. The only possible reference to it is contained in the chronicles of Sri. Lanka, according to which Mahendra, son of Asoka and his queen Devi, daughter of a merchant of Vidisa, (modern Besnagar near Bhilsa or Vidisha) whom Asoka had married during his halt there on his way to Ujjayani as a viceroy, is said to have visited his mother at Vidisa, and the latter took him up to the beautiful monastery of Vedisagiri built by herself. Mahendra had stayed there for a month before he set out for Sri Lanka.
The foundation of the great religious establishment at Sanchi destined to have a glorious career as an important centre of Buddhism for many centuries to come, was probably laid by the great Maurya emperor Asoka (circa 273-236 B.C.), when he built a stupa and erected a monolithic pillar here. In addition to his marriage with a lady of Vidisa, the reason for his selection of this particular spot may be due to the fact that the hilltop served as an ideal place for giving a concrete shape to the newly aroused zeal for Buddhism in the emperor, who is said to have opened up seven out of the eight original stupas erected over the body relics of Buddha and to have distributed the relics among innumerable stupas built by himself all over his empire. By its quietude and seclusion ensuring a proper atmosphere for meditation, combined with its proximity to the rich and populous city of Vidisa, Sanchi fulfilled all the conditions required for an ideal Buddhist monastic life. The dedicatory inscriptions at Sanchi unmistakably show that the prosperity of the Buddhist establishment here was, to a great extent, due to the piety of the rich mercantile community of Vidisa. The nearness of the city, the strategic situation of which - at the confluence of two rivers, the Betwa and the Bes, as well as on two important trade routes resulted in a great overflow of wealth, was in no small measure responsible for the flourishing condition of Sanchi even when the empire of the Mauryas was a thing of the past."

- courtesy of Buddha Net, retrieved March 23rd, 2011

"Tibetans consider hemp to be a sacred plant, and they often cultivate it in proximity to monasteries and courtyards. In the Lamaistic tradition, it is said that Budda nourished himself with just one hemp seed a day during the six ascetic years preceding his enlightenment. As a result, hemp seeds are an important food for fasting ascetics. Books in monasteries have been printed on hemp paper since the adoption of Buddhism.
In Tantric Buddhism (Vajrayana), psychoactive hemp drinks continue to be used when meditating on the cosmic union of Buddha and his shakti (yab/yum) as well as for the actual physical union between temple servants and priests. Here, the aphrodisiac hemp is regarded as the "food of Kundalini", the female subtle creative energy that transforms sexual energy into a spiritual experience. The drink is consumed 1.5 hours prior to meditation or the yab/yum ritual so that the culmination o fits effects occurs at the beginning of the spiritual or physical activity. When used in this manner, hemp increases meditative concentration, improves attention to the ceremony, and stimulates sexuality.
Today, hemp is a component of many important and oft-used Tibetan combination preparations that appear in ancient medical texts (from Tsarong 1986). The names of the recipes are derived from the principal component of the mixture and the number of ingredients."

-pp. 44- 46, Marijuana Medicine: A World Tour of the Healing and Visionary Powers of Cannabis by Christian R├Ątsch (2001)

Temple of Sanchi #2 - Potshot 18
Temple of Sanchi #3- Potshot 18
Pillar at Temple of Sanchi
Temple of Sanchi- Potshot 18
Elephant & Tree of Life - Sanchi Temple
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