Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Trapussa & Bhallika of Balkh: First Two Buddhists


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"Tradition has it that Trapussa (Tapassu, Taphussa) and Bhallika (Bhalluka), two merchant brothers from Balkh, Bactria visited the Buddha immediately after his enlightenment, became his disciples and then returned to Balkh to build temples dedicated to him...

Mithras Reader Vol 3: An Academic and Religious Journal of Greek, Roman and ...By Payam Nabarz

"Balkh town is well-known to Buddhist countries because of two great Buddhist monks of Afghanistan – Trapusa and Bahalika. There are two stupas over their relics. As per a popular legend, Buddhism was introduced in Balkh by Bhallika, disciple of Buddha and the city derives its name from him. He was a merchant of the region and had come from Bodhgaya. In literature, Balkh has been described as Balhika, Valhika or Bahlika. First Vihara at Balkh was built for Bhallika when he returned home after becoming a Buddhist monk. Xuanzang visited Balkh in 630 when it was a flourishing centre of Hinayana Buddhism. People called the city ‘Little Rajagriha’ since it housed many sacred relics."....

"As a Buddhist,I learned from Lalitavistara as well as Xuan Tsang's geographical reports that Trapussa and Bhallika were merchants from Uttarapatha (Northern caravan route from Bhalika to Baranasi) who met the Buddha at the eighted week after the Enlightenment in Baranasi forest, amazedby his 6-aura from enlightenment meditation jahna,offered him the first meal after enlightenment, were the first two humanbeings to listen to his Dhamma and became the first two upasakaa(lay disciples) and sotapanna(first entry to niravana). They then asked the Buddha for souvenirs tobring homeand he took out 8hairs from hishead to give them and how to organize/built a stupa/monument. They returned home and each built a stupa inhis hometown. After a while,Bhallika visited the Buddha again in Rajakaha/Magatha, listened to the Desna/sermon and became enlightened as an arahat and ordained a bhikkhu/monk by the Buddhahimself. Returned home he then built a monastery outside Bhalika ,probably the former one to became Naubahar/Navavihara=new monastery a thousand years later as witnessed by Xuan-Tsang who also visited the ruins of the two stupas. ... But for the first two Buddist-relic stupas, Trapussa built one in his hometown at about 20 kms/40lis northeast from the capital city whereas Bhallika's stupa was at about the same distance north of the city. The first Buddhist stupas were in bowl-upside-down shape on three levels of square bases, depicting bowl and three robes of a Buddhist sramana/monk with cane sticking on top. they can be seen at Roustam Tepe and in caves along west-coast India that used to be western trade settlements since the ancient time.....I'm trying to find a record of any stupa ruins found in the northern part of the ancient city of Balkh but couldn't find any.I wonder if you have heard anything about this finding. Thank you.....from Thailand.....Miskaman Rujavichai/Misk"


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….July 2013


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