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Asalha Puja in Gandhara: Journey Through Time & Buddhism

September 9, 2023

Reviving Asalha Puja in Gandhara: A Journey Through Time and Buddhism


In 2456 B.E., when Sir John Marshall started the excavation, he discovered that the stupa was severely damaged and looted. Additionally, a sizable tunnel was constructed to remove valuables from there. Additionally, bodies and supplies for monks were discovered in the area outside the stupa on its southern side. Those monks might have perished in the white Hun invasion (What a shame!).

Before that, in 943 B.E., a Chinese monk named Faxian visited Taxila’s Maha Stupa (also known as the Dhammarajika Stupa) to offer tribute. He pointed out that The stupa and monastery of Taxila were all in a decent state. The Huns emerged in 1050 BCE.arrived to attack and demolish Buddhist sites in Taxila for worship.

A Chinese missionary monk named Faxian Zang (Tan Sanzang) visited India in 1186 B.E. and observed that Taxila, a small, unimportant town in the Kashmir Kingdom, was in a state of deterioration. Schools, temples, shrines, and other sacred locations were wholly destroyed. There was no more information on Taxila after that.

The Dhammarajika Stupa might have been constructed in two separate eras:

1. King Ashoka’s reign was based on the Sanchi stupa’s architectural design (standard in the third century BC).

2. It was rebuilt on top of the previous stratum, that of King Ashoka, during the time of King Kanishka. It was afterward destroyed and abandoned by the white Huns in the fifth century.

The Dhammarajika Stupa’s History

In 2022, MV Arayawangso and a group of Thai monks traveled to Taxila, Gandhara, the location of the historic Dhammarajika Stupa, for a vassa. On July 13, 2022, this stupa hosted the Buddhist Asalha Puja ceremony, which had been extinct for more than a thousand years and represented the resurgence of Buddhism. As a result of this historical occurrence, Buddhists were ecstatic and shared their happiness with the Pakistani people via social media. It was encouraging to see that Pakistanis had a favorable view of other religions despite their religious differences.

The voyage of MV Arayawangso, four of his monk pupils, and a novice from Thailand during the rains retreat gave a message to Buddhists and people worldwide:

Love and compassion for people, all equal in the Dhamma, are the sources of peace and pleasure. We cannot be divided by differences in faith, beliefs, or opinions. They also cannot incite hatred among people who value human rights. Pakistanis are no different from Thais or people from other parts of the world regarding their genuine essence. The Bell of Peace was ringing from Taxila, Gandhara, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, to announce to the world’s people of all faiths that:

Buddhism in Jambudvipa

For three months in 2565 BE/2022, the First Rains Retreat has returned to the Buddhist World Heritage sites of Taxila, Gandhara, and Jambudvipa in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

By way of a diplomatic invitation from the Pakistani government, this historic occasion is being organized by MV Arayawangso, Chief Abbot of the Buddhapojhariphunchai Forest Monastery in Lamphun, Thailand, to celebrate and further solidify the friendly ties between the peoples of Thailand and Pakistan.

Buddhist devotees will be able to take part in the historic turning of the Dhamma wheel on Asalhapuja, July 13, 2565, BE, at the Dhammarajika Stupa, which was built at Taxila, Gandhara, one of the sixteen Great States, under the direction of King Ashoka the Great. On July 13, 2022, at 20.00 hr. (Thailand time) and 18.00 hr. (Pakistan time), this commemoration of Lord Buddha’s First Sermon and the founding of the Buddhist order will be broadcast live on YouTube’s Arayawangso Channel.


You are all cordially invited to participate in the historic Turning of the Dhamma Wheel to humbly honor the Supremely Enlightened One, His Dhamma, and His Sangha disciples for the continuation of the Dhamma Wheel in this world, for the advantages and happiness of all beings who are prepared to receive the Teaching of Lord Buddha.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What is the historical significance of Asalha Puja in Gandhara?

Ans: Asalha Puja in Gandhara marked the revival of an ancient Buddhist celebration in 2022, ending a thousand-year hiatus.

Q2: Why was the Dhammarajika Stupa reconstructed during King Kanishka’s time?

Ans: The Dhammarajika Stupa was reconstructed during King Kanishka’s era to preserve Buddhist heritage, but it was later damaged and looted.

Q3: What impact did the White Hun invasion have on Taxila’s Buddhist sites?

Ans: The White Hun invasion in the fifth century severely damaged and looted Taxila’s Buddhist sites.

Q4: Who was Faxian, and what did he observe during his visit to Taxila?

Ans: Faxian, a Chinese monk, visited Taxila in 943 B.E. and noted the decent state of its Buddhist sites.

Q5: How was Asalha Puja celebrated in 2022 at the Dhammarajika Stupa?

Ans: Asalha Puja was celebrated at the Dhammarajika Stupa in Taxila in 2022, marking the end of a thousand-year dormancy.

Q6: What message did MV Arayawangso convey during the event?

Ans: MV Arayawangso conveyed a message of love, compassion, and peace during the event in Gandhara.

Q7: What is the significance of the Bell of Peace?

Ans: The Bell of Peace symbolizes the significance of peace and its benefits for humanity.

Q8: How did MV Arayawangso emphasize unity among people of different faiths?

Ans: MV Arayawangso emphasized the importance of unity among people of different faiths through compassion and goodwill.

Q9: What is the importance of the return of the First Rains Retreat to Buddhist World Heritage sites?

Ans: The return of the First Rains Retreat to Buddhist World Heritage sites is crucial for preserving and promoting Buddhist heritage.

Q10: How can individuals participate in the historic Turning of the Dhamma Wheel?

Ans:  Individuals can participate in the historic Turning of the Dhamma Wheel through a live broadcast on YouTube.

Our Featured Article:

Read More: Unveiling The Rich History of Taxila: A Journey Through The Ages

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