In the footsteps of Buddha: Lumbini, the birthplace

 

Lumbini World Heritage Site

Pyone at the Lumbini Zone Travel guide map, Kapilavastu / KatPiLaWut

The future Buddha was born in the year 563 BC / 566 (Tibetan) to king Suddhodhana / ThokeDawDaNa and queen Mayadevi of Kapilavastu / KapPiLaWut in Lumbini / Rumendi / LoneMaNi, the Ingyin forest, while queen Mayadevi was on the way from Kapilavastu / KapPiLaWut to Devadaha / DaiWaDaHa, the country of her father the king of DaiWaDaHa for childbirth. The distance from Kapilavastu / KapPiLaWut to DaiWaDaHa  is 50 miles, while Lumbini lies 5-6 km away to the southeast.

There is a forest or plantation nearby, the former Ingyinn forest is no more.

Lumbini / Rumendi / LoneMaNi lies in Sino Lila in Nepal, about 12 km from the India-Nepal border.

Lumbinī (Sanskrit: लुम्बिनी, “the lovely”) is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal, near the Indian border. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi is said to have given birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE. Lumbini is one of four magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of the Buddha, the others being at Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya, and Sarnath. In the Buddha’s time, Lumbini was a park situated between Kapilavastu and Devadaha in India.

At other sites near Lumbini, earlier Buddhas were, according to tradition, born, achieved ultimate awakening and finally relinquished earthly form.

In the Sutta Nipáta (vs. 683) it is stated that the Buddha was born in a village of the Sákyans, in the Lumbineyya Janapada. The Buddha stayed in Lumbinívana during his visit to Devadaha and there preached the Devadaha Sutta.

The holy site of Lumbini is bordered by a large monastic zone, in which only monasteries can be built, no shops or hotels or restaurants. It is separated into an eastern and western monastic zone, the eastern having the Theravadin monasteries, the western having Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries.

Re-discovery

In 1896, Nepalese archaeologists (effort by Khadga Samsher Rana) discovered a great stone pillar at the site, attributed to Emperor Ashoka. Records made by the Chinese pilgrim Fa Xian were also used in the process of identifying this religiously acclaimed site.

In the Account of Chinese monk Fa-Hien’s travels in India and Ceylon A.D. 399-414 in search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline, Fa-Hien wrote about Lumbini:

50 li from the city of Kapalivastu was a garden, named Lumbini, where the queen entered the pond and bathed. Having come forth from the pond on the northern bank, after walking 20 paces, she lifted up her hand, laid hold of a branch of a tree, and, with her face to the east, gave birth to the heir apparent. When he fell to the ground, he immediately walked 7 paces. 2 dragon-kings appeared and washed his body. At the place where they did so, there was immediately formed a well, and from it, as well as from the above pond, where the queen bathed, the monks even now constantly take the water and drink it.

Present-day

Lumbini, as of 1997, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site specifically nominated for the international World Heritage program.

The Eternal Peace Lamp was set aflame on November 1 1986 to commemorate the International Year of Peace. However, the construction of the trench is still unfinished.

There is a moat surrounding the Lumbini / LoneMaNi and we had to enter and leave across the bridge over it. There were many visitors, mostly Indians. However, I saw 2 elderly Russian ladies near the entrance and one of them asked me the way to Lumbini. I told her to come along and we talked as we went along. She had been to several sites in Southern India, visiting a Sadu who preached world peace. She seems to be searching for her identity. However, at the inner entrance, a guard asked her whether she had bought ticket. When she answered in the negative, she and her companion were told to go to the Tourist Information centre and that was the last I saw of her.

 

Lumbini the Sacred Garden covers 2.56 sq. km. and contains the Asokan pillar which carries the inscription identifying the holy site as the birthplace of Buddha. King Pryadasi / Asoka / ArThawKa himself made a royal visit to Lumbini in the 20th year of his reign / after he became a Buddhist.

According to an inscription on the pillar, it was placed there by the people then in charge of the park to commemorate Asoka‘s visit and gifts.

The Mayadevi temple houses a base relief depicting the Nativity sculpture. The 1996 excavations discovered a piece of Stone that indicates the exact spot of birth of Lord Buddha.

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I felt very emotional while near the wall beside the exact spot of Nativity of prince Siddhartha / TheikDatHta. I remembered my mother who had passed away in 2006 and although I know that according to Buddhist teaching, all are matter and mind and that there is no I, you or any person, animal, tree or thing, I am not a ThawTaPan and felt very sad.

Puakarni_the sacred pool where queen Mayadevi took a holy bath before the birth lies to the south of the pillar. The same pond is also said to be the place where prince TheikDatHta was bathed for the first time.

Queen Maya is said to have delivered while standing and supporting herself by a sal tree.

The excavated structures inside the Mayadevi temple dated from 3rd Cent. B.C. to 7th Cent. A.D.

There are also stupas representing the first steps of the Prince Siddhartha / TheikDatHta.

However, I missed the image of the newly born Prince TheikDatHta speaking with right forefinger pointing upwards.

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