Lumbini Birthplace of Buddha’s, in the Terai of southern Nepal, is the birthplace of Siddharth Gautama Buddha. It is as sacred to the world’s 300 million Buddhists as Mecca to the Muslims and Jerusalem to the Judeo-Christian faiths. The Buddha was born in 540 BC in a garden under a grove of leafy trees. His mother, Maya Devi, had been on her way to her mother’s home in Devandaha when she went into labour and sought sanctuary in the garden. It was hot and humid, and the grove of trees provided welcome shade.
Son of king Suddhodhan, the Buddha wanted for nothing as he grew up at his palace home at Tilaurokot, about 27km (17 miles) from Lumbini. When he played in the garden within the palace walls, his eyes often turned northward to the distant Himalayan peaks, and then already an inspiration for the founder of what would become one of the world’s major religious forces.
At the time of his birth, there was high poverty and hardship among the people, but Siddhartha Gautama, sheltered by royal privilege, knew nothing of this.
He was 29 before he set foot outside the palace, persuading his charioteer to drive him around the nearby countryside. So overwrought was the prince by what he saw that he quit the palace and his family and became an ascetic, wandering the country, exploring the religions of the day.
Finally, he abandoned his search and became a recluse. He spent his days meditating on life until, under a papal tree at Gaya near Benares, India, he evolved the philosophy that would sustain millions through the next 2,500 years. Out of this came his name, enlightened one —the Buddha.
He reasoned that the way to enjoy life to the full was to reject extremes of pleasure or pain and follow an “Eightfold Path” based on “Four Noble Truths.” Humanity suffered, pronounced the Buddha, because of its attachment to people and possessions in a world where nothing is permanent. Desire and suffering could be banished by and attachment to rightfulness
The individual, he theorized, was simply an illusion created by the chain of cause and effect, karma, and trapped in the cycle of incarnation and reincarnation. Nirvana, the highest point of pure thought, could only be attained by the extinction of self –and the abolition of karma.
In the centuries that have followed the Buddha’s death sectarian differences have caused schisms in Buddhism so that, broadly, in India, there is the Mayahana school of Buddhism and in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka the Hinayana school. The latter more closely follows the Buddha’s original teachings.
The Buddhism of Nepal belongs to the Mayahana School. This school emphasizes less the individual pursuit of nirvana than compassion and self –sacrifice on behalf of all sentient creatures treading the wheel of life.
Marker Stone The Exact Birthplace of Buddha’s
And enlightened being who postpones personal salvation to help others on the path to enlightenment is known as a bodhisattva. Tibetan Buddhism, the predominant local influence, features a vast pantheon of bodhisattvas – these can be seen featured in the intricate mandalas of the Kathmandu markets.
At this coronation, on February 24, 1975, King Birendra declared Nepal and international zone of peace in keeping with the first tenet of the Buddhist religion – and ten years later this zone had been endorsed by 75 of the world’s nations.
Both the motif and the heart of this international zone is Lumbini garden, which was visited in 1967 by U Thant, the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Many Buddhist nations have constructed their commemorative shrines to the Enlightened One in Lumbini.