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The Eight Wonders of the (Theravada) Buddhist World:
(as suggested by Dr. David N. Snyder)
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is the first known list of the most remarkable man-made creations of classical antiquity, and was based on guide-books popular among Hellenic sight-seers and only includes works located around the Mediterranean rim. The number seven was chosen because the Greeks believed it to be the representation of perfection and plenty. Many similar lists have been made, including lists for the Medieval World and the Modern World.
Since this is a Buddhist list, eight are chosen here (The Noble Eightfold Middle Path makes 8 a significant number). There are numerous landmark Buddhist sites, so to help narrow down the list, this list focuses on the early teachings of Buddhism; the Theravada.
1. Maha Bodhi Temple
The Maha Bodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, India marks the sport where the Buddha attained enlightenment. It was most likely first built by King Ashoka in the third century BCE. It is the holiest place in Buddhism, due to the fact that this is the place of enlightenment, the goal and purpose of the Dhamma.
2. Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
The Sri Dalada Maligawa or The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a temple in the city of Kandy in Sri Lanka. It was built within the royal palace complex which houses the tooth relic of the Buddha. The tooth relic has been at this site since the 3rd century B.C.
3. Dambulla cave temple
There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area of this temple in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160 m over the surrounding plains. Major attractions are spread over 5 caves, which contain statues and paintings. The paintings and statues are related to the Buddha and his life. The caves have been used as a temple since the 1st century B.C.
4. Shwedagon Pagoda
Shwedagon Pagoda is the holiest site in Burma (Myanmar). It was most likely built sometime between the 6th and 10th centuries. According to legends, there are relics from the last four Buddhas enshrined in the Pagoda.
5. Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat in Cambodia is the largest Buddhist structure and complex in history. The outer wall encloses 820,000 square meters. It started as a Hindu temple in the 12th century and became a Buddhist temple about 100 years later and has remained a Theravada Buddhist temple ever since.
6. Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Located in Bangkok, Thailand, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is considered the holiest temple in Thailand. The statue dates to 1434 and the temple was constructed beginning in 1785.
7. Global Pagoda
The Global Pagoda is in Mumbai, India. The Global Pagoda was built out of gratitude to the Buddha, his teaching and the community of monks practicing his teaching. Its traditional Burmese design is an expression of S. N. Goenka's gratitude towards the country of Myanmar (Burma) for preserving the practice of vipassana.
The inside of the pagoda is hollow and serves as a very large meditation hall with an area covering more than 6000 m2 (65,000 ft2). This magnificent structure represents the rapid spread of the Dhamma assisted by teachers such as S. N. Goenka who is the leader of the project and also that the Dhamma is coming back home, to India.
8. Internet and internet forums
In November 2006 the newspaper USA Today, named the internet as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. This is appropriate for this Theravada Buddhist list too because a sizeable percentage of modern Buddhists now receive their Buddhist information and instruction off the internet, with reference sites such as The Dhamma Encyclopedia. Numerous online forums exist to discuss the Dhamma, such as Dhamma Wheel. Monks and nuns also participate in these forums and offer advice and teachings via blogs, websites, and forums.