Review Nepal News

Gautam Buddha and Buddhism in Nepal

By Dirgha Raj Prasai
  Kathmandu, Neppal      May 22 2016

Dirgha Raj Prasai


 Bikram Sambat 2073, 8th Jestha, (20016 May 21) is celebrating 2560th Gautam Buddha Jayantee in Limbini at mid Tarai of Nepal.. Lord Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini in the 6th century BC. Nepal has been a pious and holy land for all Buddhists as well as all kinds of religious men and women. Buddha has guided human society on the path of peace, non-violence and prosperous thinking. Gautam Buddha meditated at Sarnath-Banarash and acquired the Light of Knowledge (Mokchya) under the holy fig-tree at Gaya, which is now called Buddha Gaya. The descriptions of famous ancient Chinese pilgrims, Huian Tsang (who traveled through India between AD 629 & 645) and Fa Hein (who traveled between AD 400 & AD 414) indicate to this area, saying, 'Lumbini, where the Lord was born, is a piece of heaven on earth where one could see the snowy mountains amidst a splendid garden embedded with Stupas and monasteries.' 

The religious structure of Nepalese society is formally Hindu; but here and only here the interplay of peoples and their religious traditions has produced a rich fusion of Hindu and Buddhist faiths. It is common for both Hindus and Buddhists to worship at the same shrine, for many gods and saints are cross-over, often known by a different name but holding the same attributes. The original inhabitants of the valley were animists, a tradition which survives in the multitude of spirits, demons, local deities, and stones which receive dutiful worship to this day. Hindu and Buddhist traditions adapted from the pre-existing animist practices and from each other. Indeed, in the medieval period, when both religions' practice adopted mystical, Tantrik traditions, they were almost indistinguishable from each other.

An English writer H.A. Oldfield has written- There are about 2000 Buddhist Shrines in the Kathmandu Valley.The majority of those are Chaityas. The Buddhist of Nepal has been adopting several Hindu deities as part of the religious behavior. A famous scientist Albert Einstein said-' The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism.'

A scholar Ram Kumar Shrestha writes- 'Ashoka Pillar built in 300 BC by Indian Emperor Ashok during his pilgrimage to the birthplace of Buddha still stands Lumbini. A thorough excavation and investigation near the Ashok Pillar has found the Nativity Stone that was laid down to mark the Buddha’s birthplace. An international team of archaeologists has begun a three-year survey, coordinated by the UNESCO of the archaeological ruins of Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha in Nepal. The team of archaeologists, including experts from Nepal’s Department of Archaeology and the Lumbini Development Trust, is directed by Robin Coningham, UNESCO Archaeological Expert and Professor of Archaeology, University of Durham. The UNESCO, after careful examination all facts and evidences, has already recognized Lumbini as the Buddha’s birthplace and a World Heritage Site'.

Buddhism advocates the unification of faith and wisdom. Faith is characterized by the sentiments of respect and of inspiration by an ideal. Faith in Buddhism is developed through contemplation and investigation so that the characteristics of truthfulness, righteousness, and efficacy of the ideal in which one develops faith, can be understood and revealed. Cultivation of faith and wisdom as a unity in Buddhism, unlike other religions, involves several stages, 1. Faith without prejudice 2. Faith with profound understanding 3. Faith with endeavor 4. Faith with realization. Otherwise, faith without wisdom will develop ignorance and wisdom without faith will develop a perverted view. And the most outstanding characteristic of wisdom is free thought and its operative functions include understanding and cognition.”

An international scholar Aldous Huxley said-"The oldest aspects of Hindu mythology give place to the most profound and subtle utterances about the nature of ultimate reality, it is in itself a liberal education in humility, tolerance and suspense of judgment." We can see The Great Wall of China; "the seventh wonders of the world" has a fourteen feet long Sanskrit incantation engraved on the western gate. Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan had written 'OM Namo! Bhagawati' including others in the 14th century. The Chinese Great Wall has many syllables from 'Mahabharata' written on the doors in Sanskrit language. It is not a common thing that the language was written in Kalipinya letters.

Similarly, NEWSWEEK COLUMNIST Ms Lisa Miller says-'we are all Hindus. The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture, says: "Truth is one, but the sages speak of it by many names." A Hindu believes there are many paths to God. The most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think like this. They learn in Sunday school that their religion is true, and others are false. Let us all say "OM." when you chant "OM," it will resonate not only in the room but down through the ages.' May 13, 2010 at > http://www.newsweek.com/id/237910

Nepal's History and Religions in Nepal, is a rich and complex mix of different cultures and traditions, melded over thousands of years into a unique whole. For the western traveler there is much that is familiar, and many surprises. Family and religion are of paramount importance, and are constantly reflected throughout the culture. Nepal moves to a different rhythm than the West. The notes here are meant only to tantalize you into visiting this amazing place. We should all aware of the facts that Hindu religion has many enemies. These enemies may try to discredit and malign Hinduism. In south Asia general population is ignorant, and engulfed in blind faith and traditions that are carried over for centuries. It is true that over millennia some people took advantage of this blind faith and traditions to satisfy there own hidden agenda and lust and did harm the local communities. But that is not the case here.

According to Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya- 'This world is full of all kinds of human beings. In a nutshell, they can be classified as - gentle, sad, upbeat and scoundrel. We need to treat them according to their type and not the same way. There is an aphorism in Yogadarshana which talks about friendship, compassion, gleefulness and neglect. It explains the need and utility of behavior tailored as per the individual. We should make friendship with gentlemen so that the impact of their virtues benefits us and also a timely good conduct can be expected from them. A feeling of compassion should prevail for the grieving and benighted ones and the efforts to make them overcome the crisis by helping and serving must be driven. At the minimum, sympathy can be shown to them with an endeavor of providing consultation to hold patience and guide them the way to get over the sufferings. We should be glad to see the successful and upbeat people. Progressives deserve at the minimum a gift of appreciation for their skills and dedication which will encourage them further. It inspires others to rise too. 

It's not possible to fight with evil and rogue forever. Avoid confrontation with everybody coming on the way as fighting with them in an effort to rectify and fix them is next to impossible. At least their misbehavior can be ignored so that the time which was to be used for taking revenge and degrading them can be utilized in creative tasks. Even with all this, at least one must make sure that culprits should be shown the fear of non-cooperation, resistance and conflict otherwise they take our ignorance as an opportunity to dare more. Ignorance should be limited to the extent that the wicked must not get encouraged further. To conduct as per the person's level is the real workmanship which is called another form of Yoga by the God in the Geeta.

It can't be implemented in the behavior literally. It will be very awkward if practiced exactly that way. If revered Gurus and evils/rogues are seated at the same level and worshiped or neglected-condemned the same way then it will look very strange and confusing. This will have bad aftermath effects. A buffalo (in a cart) needs a hit of stick to move whereas a horse starts running with a slight hint of the halter. This is because of the difference in their nature which justifies the riders' behavior. It's quite possible to play the tricks of negotiation, money, punishment, divide (Saam, Daam, Danda, Bhed) as per the need. Try the other (or more) tricks if one doesn't work. The sole purpose is to reform. Hate the sin and not the sinner. This synergistic behavior for the benefit of others is similar to the callousness of a surgeon while operating for good and ethical.'

A country's existence and prestige can gradually be eroded by finishing off its faith and belief tradition and culture and the creator of nation. Nepal was worthy to be bowed down by Hindus all over the world. This is the highest honor Nepal could receive from the international community. The conspiracy against oriental Baidik Hindu and Buddha's culture was started almost 200 years ago from India by East India Company where Lord Macaulay was one of them who succeed to destroy oriental Hindu identities and culture.

Lumbinī- Nepal 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 Gautam, who as the Buddha founded the Buddhist tradition. Records made by the Chinese pilgrim Fa Xian were also used in the process of identifying this religiously acclaimed site. The holy site of Lumbini has ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Ashoka pillar and the Mayadevi temple. The truth, however is that Buddha was born at Lumbini in present Rupandehi district of western Terai region in Nepal. A fact accepted by UNESCO while providing world heritage status to the place.

But some so-called leaders are active to minimize Hinduism and dismiss the existence of Buddha. One of the Communist old-leader Mohan Bikram Sing has written that Buddha was burn in Orissa (India) but not in Nepal. (See: Kantipur B.S.2059 Bhadra 19) What is that means? Such antagonistic so-called politicians, some against of Christian are habituated to exploit our national culture, religions and identities. This is the matter of grief for all Nepalese. But, the renowned historian of India and native Orrisan Prof. Karuna Sagar Behera has been quoted as saying "The Buddha was neither born in Orissa nor visited the place during his lifetime"

'An international conservation team has begun work on restoring three endangered monuments at Buddha's supposed birthplace in southern Nepal, officials said on Tuesday. The team, led by Italian conservation expert Costantino Meucci, will restore the marker stone, nativity sculpture and Ashoka pillar in Lumbini, 250 kilometres (150 miles) southwest of Nepal's capital Kathmandu. Lumbini, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1997, is visited by Buddhist pilgrims from around the world, and the month-long restoration campaign is funded by the Japanese government. The marker stone is believed to be the exact site of Buddha's birth while the nativity sculpture is a carving that shows Buddha's mother holding a tree branch for support during his birth. Gautam Siddhartha, who later became known as Buddha or the Enlightened One, is believed to have been born around 500 BC' (AFP News-5 Apr.2011)

Nepal is the pious Hindu and Buddha country in the lap of the Himalayas, which is beautiful, quiet, the birth place of Buddha and origin of Hinduism. Lord Buddha is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Besides being the country of Everest it is equally popular with its diverse cultural values. In the context of coordination between Hindu God and Buddhism, Muktinath a sacred shrine in Mustang-Nepal, is the great example where Hindus and Buddhists both devotee with meditation. Buddhists believe as the incarnation of Lord Buddha. The God Muktinath site lies at an attitude of around 4200 meters. Lord Bishnu is worshipped at the Muktinath Temple opened throughout the year especially during Rhishitarpani, Ram Navami and Bijaya dashmi and thousands of pilgrims gather here to celebrate them. Hindu devotees take holy bath in the chilling waters of 108 Dhara (water spouts) believing that it brings them salvation. The 108 waters spouts are also the origin of Kaligandaki River. 'Shaligram' (symbols of lord Bishnu) are found in this River.

This is the land where civilization began and is also known as the country of 'SANGRILA.' Nepal is as holy place to Hindus & Buddhists, as Mecca for Muslims and Jerusalem to Jews and Christians. To refrain from all evils to do what is good to purify the mind is the message of Lord Buddha. The Hindus and Buddhists have the freedom to pursue their own way of observing the religion. Nepalese nationalism has evolved and been consolidated more through social and cultural exchanges than conflicts. So, to keep intact our sovereignty with our indigenous cultural and traditions there must be declared restoring the constitutional monarchy with Hindu kingdom, maintaining the co-existence from all sectors. Let's celebrative 2560th Buddha Jayantee in Nepal as well as in all over the world!
Email: dirgharajprasai@gmail.com