The Bodhisatta arrives at Uruvela Senanigama, deciding to undertake his practice at the peaceful forest there

The Great Being took leave of the two teachers and journeyed in search of a place to try out the ascetic practices so favored by the recluses of that time. He traveled to a certain district, also in the country of Magadha, by name of Uruvela Senanigama. Uruvela means "sand hill," while senanigama means "district" or "village."

The area of this district was flat and blessed with a green and delightful forest. The clear waters of the River Neranjara ran through it and there was a place to bathe and villages in the vicinity, not too far and not too near, suitable as a resource for alms food for a recluse intent on practice.

Uruvela Senanigama might in modern times be called "Sandhill Town."

The commentarial text, Samantapasadika, volume 3, written after the Buddha's passing away (parinibbana) by the Indian commentator Buddhaghosa, relates the history of the sandhill at this village as follows: In the past the area had been a forest in which lived many recluses undertaking ascetic practices. The ascetics, observing that wrongs expressed through body and speech were easily seen, but not the wrongs of the mind, which were left unpunished, made a regulation that any of them who committed a mental wrong, such as a thought of lust, should punish himself by taking his bowl and scooping out some sand and pouring it out onto the bank, one bowl-full for each person, each time. It was a kind of self-inflicted penance. Thus came into being the hill of sand, "uruvela", a monument to the mountain of defilements of the ascetics of old.

In the time of the Buddha the area of this district was still known as Uruvela Senanigama, but in later times it came to be known as Bodhgaya, where at present the Bodhgaya Thai Temple is established.

The Great Being chose this district as the place to undertake the ascetic practices that would comprise his next experiment on the search for the path to enlightenment.
 

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