Essay: Lumbini

‘Lumbini’ is the birthplace of the Lord buddha.Which is located at Lumbini Zone, Rupandehi district of Nepal. To arrive there, we have to drive 30 minutes from Bhairahawa and 9 hours from kathmandu. For flight, the nearest airport is Gautam Buddha Airport which fly from and to Kathmandu.
According to Buddhist tradition, Siddhartha Gautam was born in 623 BC. Queen Mayadevi gave birth to him. Later on, he founded Buddhism after achieving Enlightment and became ‘Gautama Buddha’ in time around 543 BC. Hindu regard the Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu and worship Queen Mayadevi as Rupa Devi, as mother goddess of Lumbini. His mother(Queen Mayadevi) took the ritual dip prior to his birth in Puskarini(Holy) pond. Where he, too had his first bath. At other site near Lumbini, according to the tradition, Earlier buddha were born, achieved utimate Englightment and finally gave up earthly form. Lumbini is one of many magnet for pilgrimage, where many people come to worship, visit, research and study about the life of Gautam Buddha and various other purposes. Lumbini has number of temples, including the Mayadevi Temple, Ashokan pillar and several others in construction. Many statue, monasteries and a museum called ‘the Lumbini International Reseach Institute’ are also located. Where people get help to learn and know about the history of Gautam Buddha and in 1997, Lumbini was granted World Heritage status by UNESCO.
In the Buddha’s time, Lumbini was situated between Kapilvastu and Devandaha(both in Nepal). It was there, where Buddha was born. Now a days, a pillar is marked as the spot where king Ashoka visited Lumbini during his period and there is inscription on the pillar, which indicates that , it was placed there by the people then in charge of the park to commemorate Ashoka’s visit and gifts. Previously, this park was known as Rummindei, which lies 3.2 km north of Bhagavanpura. In the Sutta Nipata (vs 683) it is stated that the Buddha was born in a village of the sakyans in the Lumbineyya Janapada. Where he stayed during his visit to Devadaha and preached the devandaha Sutta.
In 1896, Nepalese archaeologists(led by khadga Samsher Rana and Alois Anton Fuhrer) discovered a great stone pillar at lumbini. Fuhrer assumed that the pillar was placed at the site by Ashoka (emperor of the Maurya Empire) around 245 BCE. Records made by the Chinese Pilgrim Faxian(Buddhist monk) in the early fifth century CE were also used in th process of identifying this religious acclaimed site. Recent excavations beneath existing brick structure at the Mayadevi Temple, constructed during the Ashoka era. Lumbini have uncovered the evidence for an older timber structure beneath the walls of the newer brick. The layout of the Ashokan shrine closely follows that of the earlier timber structure, which suggests a continuity of worship at the site. The Pre-Mauryan timber structure appears to be an ancient bodhigara(tree shrine), where pre-Buddha tree worship began at around 1000 BC. Which was followed and developed by Buddhist monastery like community in approximately 550 BC.
In present days, Lumbini historic site is 4.8 km in length and 1.6 km in width. The holy site of Lumbini is covered by a large monastic zone in which only monasteries can be built, no shop, hotels or restaurants are allowed to built. It is separated into an eastern and western monastic zone, The Theravadin monasteries belongs to eastern whereas, Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries belongs to western. An ancient monasteries like sacred Bodhi tree, bathing pond, the Ashokan Pillar and the Mayadevi temple, Where the supposed birth place of Buddha is located. Many pilgrims from different countries preform chanting and meditation at the site, from early morning to early evening.

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