March 31, 2010


By: Babu Krishna Rijal

Historical prelude

Nepal is blest with  Lumbini, where Lord Buddha, “The Light of Asia”, was born in the sixth century B. C. The location of Lumbini is in the western Tarai of Nepal with latitude 27.28 north and 83.16 east. In sixth century B. C.  the landmass of the Tarai in the present Lumbini Zone was occupied by the two ancient tribes called ‘Sakyas’ and ‘Kolias’. The site Lumbini, before the birth of Gautam Buddha, was a pleasure garden entertained by the people of the two kingdoms – the Shakyas of Kapilvastu and the Kolias of Anagram. The Shakyas and the Kolias were bound by matrimonial alliance, thus related to each other.

The earliest reference of Lumbini as the birth place of Gautam Buddha is found in the classical Buddhist text, Suttanipata’ the text mentions that “ Boddhisattwa, the excellent pearl, the incomparable is born in the country of Lumbini. Therefore, we are glad and exceedingly pleased, Lalitavistra and other Buddhist literatures mentions that Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini during the full moon day, in the month of May. At the time of the birth of Lord Buddha Lumbini Garden was bloomed with various trees. The humming of bees and the sweet warbling of birds magnified the natural scenery of Lumbini. It was a pleqsure resort called Pradimoksha Vana and comparable to the Chittalata Grove of Indra’s paradise in the heaven.

The famous story of Gautam Buddha’s nativity is that while Mayadevi, the mother of Buddha was going to Devadaha from Kapilvastu, she got the labour pain at Lumbini. The pangs of labour caused her to stand against the trunk of a tree with raised hand. A male child came forth from the right side of her armpit and walked seven steps towards north and proclaimed the following words “ I am the foremost of all creatures to cross the riddle of the ocean of existence. I have come to this world to show the path of emancipation. This is my last birth and hereafter I will not be born again”.

Buddha’s attachment to Lumbini was great. He visited Lumbini and Kapilvastu several times as a great sage. He was obliged to Sakyas and used to say that “service to relatives is a blessing”. Buddha’s eloquence of purity and contemplative virtue of the pilgrimage to Lumbini is seen expressed in Mahaparinirvana Sutta. From his death bed Buddha had advised all his followers and lay devotees to visit Lumbini for spiritual efficacy an aesthetic contemplation.Read (Read more)

Also please see The New York Times articles linked below:
a) Buddha's Birthplace Hopes for a New Incarnation
b) A Nepalese Garden of Buddhist Legend