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  • 1. Vihara OR monestery SUBMITTED BY:-JYOTI JAYMIN RAVI AMAR
  • 2.
    • Vihara ( विहार ) is Sanskrit or Pali for ( Buddhist ) monastery . It originally meant "dwelling" or "refuge", such as those used by wandering monks during the rainy season.
    • In the early decades of Buddhism the wandering monks of the Sangha had no fixed abode, but during the rainy season (cf. vassa ) they stayed in temporary shelters.
    • These dwellings were simple wooden constructions or thatched bamboo huts. However, as it was considered an act of merit not only to feed a monk but also to shelter him, sumptuous monasteries were created by rich lay devotees (Mitra 1971).
    • They were located near settlements, close enough for begging alms from the population but with enough seclusion to not disturb meditation.
  • 3.
      • Trade-routes were therefore ideal locations for a vihara and donations from wealthy traders increased their economic strength.
      • From the first century CE onwards viharas also developed into educational institutions, due to the increasing demands for teaching in Mahayana Buddhism (Chakrabarti 1995).
      • In the second century BCE a standard plan for a vihara was established. It could be either structural, which was more common in the south of India , or rock-cut like the chaitya -grihas of the Deccan .
      • It consisted of a walled quadrangular court, flanked by small cells. The front wall was pierced by a door, the side facing it in later periods often incorporated a shrine for the image of the Buddha .
  • 4.
      • The cells were fitted with rock-cut platforms for beds and pillows (Mitra 1971).
      • This basic layout was still similar to that of the communal space of an ashrama ringed with huts in the early decades of Buddhism (Tadgell 1990).
    • As permanent monasteries became established, the name "Vihara" was kept. Some Viharas became extremely important institutions, some of them evolving into major Buddhist Universities with thousands of students, such as Nalanda .
    • Life in "Viharas" was codified early on. It is the object of a part of the Pali canon , the Vinaya Pitaka or "basket of monastic discipline".
  • 5.
    • The northern Indian state of Bihar derives its name from the word "Vihara", probably due to the abundance of Buddhist monasteries in that area. The Uzbek city of Bukhara also probably takes it name from "Vihara".
    • In Thailand , "Vihara" has a narrower meaning, and designates a shrine hall.
    • The cells were fitted with rock-cut platforms for beds and pillows (Mitra 1971).
    • This basic layout was still similar to that of the communal space of an ashrama ringed with huts in the early decades of Buddhism (Tadgell 1990).
    • As permanent monasteries became established, the name "Vihara" was kept.
  • 6. Some Viharas became extremely important institutions, some of them evolving into major Buddhist Universities with thousands of students, such as Nalanda . Life in "Viharas" was codified early on. It is the object of a part of the Pali canon , the Vinaya Pitaka or "basket of monastic discipline". The northern Indian state of Bihar derives its name from the word "Vihara", probably due to the abundance of Buddhist monasteries in that area. The Uzbek city of Bukhara also probably takes it name from "Vihara".
  • 7.
    • In Thailand , "Vihara" has a narrower meaning, and designates a shrine hall.
    • Buddhist Vihara or monastery is an important form of institution associated with Buddhism.
    • It may be defined as a residence for monks, a centre for religious work and meditation and a centre of Buddhist learning.
    • Reference to five kinds of dwellings (Pancha Lenani) namely, Vihara, Addayoga, Pasada, Hammiya and Guha is found in the Buddhist canonical texts as fit for monks.
    • Of these only the Vihara (monastery) and Guha (Cave) have survived
  • 8.
    • Epigraphic, literary and archaeological evidence testify to the existence of many Buddhist Viharas in Bengal (West Bengal and Bangladesh) and Bihar from the 5th century AD to the end of the 12th century.
    • These monasteries were generally designed in the old traditional Kusana pattern, a square block formed by four rows of cells along the four sides of an inner courtyard. They were usually built of stone or brick.
    • As the monastic organization developed, they became elaborate brick structures with many adjuncts. Often they consisted of several stories and along the inner courtyard there usually ran a veranda supported on pillars.
    • In some of them a stupa or shrine with a dais appeared. Within the shrine stood the images of Buddha, Bodhisattva or Buddhist female deities.
  • 9.
    • More or less the same plan was followed in building monastic establishments in Bengal and Bihar during the Gupta and Pala period.
    • In course of time monasteries became important centres of learning.
    • An idea of the plan and structure of some of the flourishing monasteries may be found from the account of Hsuan-Tsang , who referred to the grand monastery of po-si-po, situated about 6.5 km west of the capital city of Pundravardhana ( Mahasthan ).
    • The monastery was famous for its spacious halls and tall chambers. General Cunningham identified this vihara with bhasu vihara.
    • Huen-tsang also noticed the famous Lo-to-mo-chi vihara (Raktamrittika Mahavihara) near Karnasuvarna (Rangamati, Murshidabad, West Bengal).
  • 10.
    • The site of the monastery has been identified at Rangamati (modern Chiruti, Murshidabad, West Bengal).
    • A number of smaller monastic blocks arranged on a regular plan, with other adjuncts, like shrines, stupas, pavilions etc have been excavated from the site.
    • The plan of the monastery was designed on an ancient pattern, i.e. rows of cells round a central courtyard.
    • The date of the monastery may be ascribed to the Gupta period.
    • A number of monasteries grew up during the Pala period in ancient Bengal.
  • 11.
    • The available data suggests that the Pala ruler Dharmapala founded the vihara.
    • It followed the traditional cruciform plan for the central shrine. There were 177 individual cells around the central courtyard.
    • There were central blocks in the middle of the eastern, southern and western sides.
    • These might have been subsidiary chapels.
    • It was the premier vihara of its kind and its fame lingered till the 11th century AD.
  • 12.
    • Reference to a monastery known as Vikramashila is found in Tibetan records.
    • The Pala ruler Dharmapala was its founder.
    • The exact site of this vihara is at Antichak, a small village in Bhagalpur district (Bihar).
    • The monastery had 107 temples and 50 other institutions providing room for 108 monks.
    • It attracted scholars from neighboring countries.
    • Other notable monasteries of Pala period were Traikuta, Devikota (identified with ancient kotivarsa, 'modern Bangarh'), Pandita vihara and Jagaddala (situated near Ramavati).
  • 13.
    • Excavations conducted in 1972 to 1974 yielded a Buddhist monastic complex at Bharatpur in the Burdwan district of West Bengal.
    • The date of the monastery may be ascribed to the early medieval period.
    • Recent excavations at Jagjivanpur (Malda district, West Bengal) revealed another Buddhist monastery of the ninth century AD. Unfortunately, nothing of the superstructure has survived.
    • However, a number of monastic cells facing a rectangular courtyard have been found.
    • An interesting feature is the presence of circular corner cells.
    • It is believed that the general layout of the monastic complex at Jagjivanpur is by and large similar to that of Nalanda.
  • 14.
    • Early freestanding Viharas:-
    • Although the oldest surviving Viharas are rock-cut, they seem like chaitya halls to have origionally been free standing str. According to contemporary descriptions, these were Pyramidal in form and consisted of halls raised on Wooden Posts.
    • Cells:-
    • Typically, a horseshoe arch,
    • Copied from those of the great charity windows, was placed above the doorway of a cell, in which a monk slept.
    • In Later times, when design developed and became more eleborate,cells were given domed roofs and carved facades .
  • 15. Sanctury and chapels:- By the 5 th Century CE, Viharas included chaples and a Sanctuary so that Worship could be perfomed independently of the chaitya halls. The Cenctuary was placed directly across from the entance, and typically contained a stpa or image of Buddha. Verandas:- The mejority of Viharas were fronted by Verendas (large Porches) These served as a transition between the outside World and the Semi darkness of the rock-cut hall, and often provided the principal focus for ornament. Columns were carved,and sometimes walls and ceilings were painted with frescoes.
  • 16. Pillared Hall:- As Viharas grew larger and more splendid, pillars began to be placed within the hall’s interior,in order to support the incrasingroof spans. At 1 st four pillars were used, then twelve, and walls of this hall at Ajanta in the late 5 th century CE, are covered with coloured decoration. Sala:- Some later Viharas had rooms known as salas attached to them. Salas served principally as school rooms,but may also have been used as refectories (dharmsalas) or for religious worship. This Examples, at Bagh in Central India dating from the 5 th centuary CE,was accessed from the main hall via a cong, twenty-pillared Veranda. The internal walls of the Verenda would have been richly decorated.
  • 17.
    • Structural Viharas :-
    • In Gandhara, now northen pakistan, Viharas were invariably freestanding structures,built of stone.
    • This, the monastery at takht-i-bahi dating from the 3 rd century CE, includes with a stupa at its center(A), a court with image niches (B),a residential court or Sangharama(C),and a meeting hall or upasthansala(D).
  • 18.  
  • 19.