Three important territories of modern Gujarat have been mentioned in Pali Tipitaka as being places to where ancient Buddhism had spread. They are Bharukaccha (Bharuch), Dvaravati (Dwarka) and Sihapura (Sihor near Bhavnagar).
Professor KTS Sarao, who is former head of department of Buddhist studies, Delhi University and who was here for the three-day seminar on Buddhism, shares his research findings about Bharuckaccha with DNA.
Bharukaccha , which is located near Vadodara, was an important center of Buddhism in ancient times. There are references from Pali literature about the existence and practice of Buddhism
in Bharuch. The Pali Tipitaka refers to Bharukaccha as a nagara (city). Even at that time, Bharuch was a major trading center had trade links with Suvarnabhumi (Sri Lanka).
Dr Sarao said, "Brgukaccha is the Sanskrit rendering of Bharukaccha, which means high coastland and the city is situated on a high coastland. The settlement was founded by Bhiru, one of the three persons who managed to get away from the kingdom of Sikkhandi, the king of Sauvira, when it was destroyed by a furious sandstorm.
The fame, prosperity and wealth of Bharukaccha were due to extensive maritime commerce and strategic location, providing an outlet for the settlements of both the Deccan and northern India. The references appear to be not earlier than the Mauryan period in the Pali Tipitaka.
According to Dipavamsa, Viaya, the first king of Sri Lanka spent three months at Bharuch while on his way from Supparkat to Sri Lanka after having been exiled by his father. Vaddha Thera, Vaddhamata Their and Malitavambha Thera belong to Bharuch. Vaddhamata Their was the mother of Vaddha Thera. After the birth of Vaddha, she joined the Samgha after having heard a monk preach and became an arahant. Even Vaddha became an arahant and his mother guided and encouraged her. Buddhist literature clearly promotes Vaddha as an eloquent preacher of Buddhism in early Indian Buddhism.Dwarka and Sihor were also places in Gujarat where Buddhism flourished in ancient times, says DU professor