December 14 ,2017 , 03:42 PM
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Grandeur of Lumbini
"Decay is inherent in all component things. Workout your salvation with diligence"

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Prem Kumari Pant

These were the words of Buddha to his disciples just on the eve of his death.

The starting point in Buddhism is mankind and the way in which they suffer not just physical pain but the general feeling of dissatisfaction with life.

Buddhism is not dogmatic religion in the sense that it does not require a person to accept fixed belief and ideal. If one reserves the right to find the truth for oneself one must logically accord the same right to others and also respect them if they arrive at different conclusions. From this basic tolerance comes as a result that the world so actually need today.

Old age, disease and death made him realize the sheer hollowness of worldly pleasure. With the birth of his son Rahul he decided to leave home and family at once. For six years he lived as a homeless sadhu. Even though he got instructions under two religious teachers and visited many places, it did not do any help to him in reaching his goal. At last he sat under a Pipal tree at Bodha Gaya and there he found supreme knowledge and enlightenment, and thus becoming Buddha, the enlightened one. For forty five year, he roamed as a wandering teacher and preached Buddhism in north India and Nepal. Buddha is said to have died at the age of eighty in 483 BC in Kushinagar near Gorkhapur.

Buddha taught his followers the four noble truths:

a) Concerning suffering

b) The cause of suffering

c) The destruction of suffering

d) The way that leads to the destruction of suffering

To attain salvation one should follow the middle path called the noble eight path i.e having right views, right aspiration, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mind-fullness and right concentration.

This is the path that opens the eyes, bestows correct understanding and leads one to peace of mind and to the higher wisdom or full enlightenment, the Nirvana.

Striving for salvation requires, in the first place, observing the moralities. It propagates abandonment of killing, stealing, inconsistence, falsehood, slander, luxury and hankering for wealth.

The next requisite for striving salvation is Samadhi or concentration and insight. These ultimately lead to enlightenment or Nirvana.

The result of religious revolution was the main cause of origin of Buddhism. This revolution was targeted to Hinduism's caste system and priesthood. At that time Hinduism's caste system and priesthood were in the climax.

Riga Veda's nature worship became more and more complicated with many difficult and costly religious rituals for the common people. Hindu priests tried to show their supremacy in the society. They insisted the people to perform many costly religious vedic yangyas. But for many common people it became impossible to bear the cost of performing Yangya. Lower caste people or Dalits were extremely exploited by so-called upper caste people. So many common people gradually started getting attracted to Buddhism. Buddha challenged dogmatic caste system in Hindu religion. He gave message of equality to the helpless down-trodden lower caste people and opened the door for freedom.

Buddhism became popular and dominating religion in Asia. Buddhism is easy to follow and understand. Buddha himself spent more that 45 years as a wandering teacher, preaching Buddhism. He explained Karma in a very simple and easy way. He gave more emphasis on morality and deed. He had proved his selflessness. And although he was a prince, he discarded all palatial comfort for the cause of common people and embraced a life of a sanyasi or a sage.

He had many fine human qualities such as kindness, affection, sympathy, and the ability to never get angry. He was ready to hear slander, never pleased by hearing praise from others. In his mind there was no place for hate and enmity. He possessed the quality to satisfy all sects of society. He had good organization qualities: he visualized the importance of organized monks and established monasteries.

The whole world wants peace and seeks to avoid war and conflict. Mankind is powerless against mankind. The world today is beset with many grave problems – social, psychological, ecological, economic and of course the threat of nuclear destruction casting its shadow over all, and what we do not understand and over which we have no control. Buddhism offers us ways and means of conquering it all. So our world needs it today as never before.

Lumbini, the birth-place of Gautam Buddha, is situated at the foothill of the Himalayas and the Churia range. Buddha, the apostle of peace, compassion, non violence and universal brotherhood was born in 624 B.C. on the full moon day of the first month of Lunar calendar; Baisakh Purnima which falls in April/May. King Sudhadan, the father of Siddhartha (Gautam Buddha) was the king of small kingdom with Kapilvastu as its capital. Queen Maya Devi, Siddhartha's mother, gave birth to the child on the way to her parent's home in Devadaha while taking rest in Lumbini under a big Sal tree. As soon as Buddha was born, he looked towards the east, south, west, upward, downward and in all directions. Then he looked towards the north and took seven steps. It is described that at every step he walked one lotus flower bloomed on the ground. Buddha is said to be the tenth incarnation of God. So at that time he proclaimed, "Foremost am I in the world. Senior most am I in the world. Best am I in the world. This is my last birth. No more am I to be born."

He was born in the human form to save humanity from sufferings.

Lumbini was in its grandeur for some centuries. But Lumbini remained neglected for centuries. The history as well as the ancient remains of the Sakya period and the faded magnificence of Lumbini is a challenge to the archaeologists and historians. Its importance is added by the fact that the United Nations has taken interest in the development of the area under the U.N. Development Project. An international Committee has also been set up for the development of this scared historical place. In 1967 UN Secretary General U. Thant made Lumbini Development Project an International Concern, when he visited the birth place of Lord Buddha. Late King Mahendra had also shown deep interest in the development of Lumbini and later founded Lumbini Development Committee. As a result funds for this Development Project have been pouring in from several countries.

Very recently, several beautiful shrines have been built by several Buddhist countries in Lumbini. The visit to Lumbini, the birth-place of Buddha and Kapilvastu, the realm of the Sakya is not only for spiritual enlightenment but also for solace and satisfaction.

 

The Ashoka Pillar

This Pillar was erected by King Ashoka of India who visited this place in 250 B.C. to pay homage to the birthplace of Gautam Buddha. Ashoka constructed four stupas and a stone pillar with the figure of a horse on top.

Chinese traveler Fa Hian (403 A.D.) and Huan Tsang (636 A.D.), visited Lumbini and Kapilvastu. At that time, the whole region was in ruins with many dilapidated stupas, monasteries and palaces. Huan Tsang also observed the Ashoka Pillar spilt into two when it was struck by lighting. In 1895 Fuuhrer, a famous German archaeologist discovered the great pillar while wandering about the foothills Shiwalice range. The splendor of the holy seat of Buddhism is evident from various old monasteries, sculptures and archaeological objects.

 

Temple of Maya Devi

Besides the Ashoka Pillar, another most famous monument is the temple of Maya Devi. On the south of the Maya Devi temple there is the famous sacred bath pool known as Puskarni. It is believed that Maya Devi took a bath in this pool before delivery.


Friday, Dec 09, 2016 11:51 am


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