Review Nepal News

Lord Buddha and Buddhism in Nepal!

By Dirgha Raj Prasai
  Kathmandu, Nepal      May 09 2017

Dirgha Raj Prasai

   

2074 B.S. Baishak 27th.is the 2561 auspicious memorial Birth day of Gautam Buddha. Lumbini is the birth land of Lord Gautam Buddha in the 6th century BC in mid Tarai in Nepal. Lord Gautam Buddha advocated the unification of faith and wisdom. Faith is characterized by the sentiments of respect and of inspiration by an ideal. Faith of Lord Buddha 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.'
 
A great 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”. It is very praiseworthy preaches of Gautam Buddha that he had messaged to all mankind to follow the path of – Noble truth –(‘Samyak’): such as-Right View; Right Thought; Right Speech; Right Conduct; Right Livelihood; Right Effort; Right Mindfulness; Right Concentration. Similarly, a) Suffering is common – Birth, Sickness, Old age, Death etc. b) Cause of Suffering – ignorance and greed) c) End of Suffering – to cut off greed and ignorance. d) Path to end Suffering –Noble Path is the way to end suffering. ‘No killing, No stealing, No sexual misconduct, No lying, No intoxicants are the Buddha’s Panchshil.’ 
 
It is a matter of grief that Almost, the Nepalese Communists are active to minimize the immortality of Hinduism and Buddhism. The communist old-leader Mohan Bikram Sing wants to dismiss the existence of Buddha and he wrote that Buddha was burn in Orissa (India) but not in Nepal. (See: Kantipur B.S.2059 Bhadra 19) What is that means? 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”[http://tinyurl.com/yl3jlyv 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’.
 
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.’ Prof. Dr.Triratna Manandhar writes-’ In fifth century A.D. Faxan, a Buddhist monk and scholar from China visited Kapilvastu and Lumbini. His visit was followed by the visit of Nepali Buddhist scholar Buddhabhadra, to China, Faxian and Buddhabhadra collaborated to translating some of the Buddhist Sanskrit texts into Chinese which staying at monastery in China. In the seventh century A.D. Xuan-Zang visited Lumbini, Kapilvastu and Kathmandu Vally, and left a short description of Nepal, which gives a short glimpse of Mahayana and Therabad Budhism in Nepal during ancient period. Sino-Nepali relations revived in the 13th Century when Kublai Khan invited a team of artists from Nepal to erect a golden Stupa. 
 
'Buddhism is a major breakthrough within the long traditions of Hinduism. That is Buddha achieved Nirvana without depending on supra-humanity or divinity. The central message of Buddha is that an individual can achieve salvation by working within the human faculty. All of Buddha’s teachings and analyses are within rational self-examination of the world including one’s mind. Buddhism is not political or social grouping. It is an inner discipline, similar to mathematics or music, practicable by any body regardless of their religious or other backgrounds.' Buddha dharma is more rigorous. Its root in Hinduism is symbolized by 'OM.' the 'OM' is the symbol of 'Brahman' in Adwaita, 'Godhead' in Dwaita and 'Bodhi' in Buddhism. The most repeated Buddhist mantra is 'OM Mani Padme Hum' or the 'goodness comes out of goodness. The greatness of Buddha is that he is able to bring many of the truths, which were considered purely a matter of faith and revelation, within the realm of rational deduction. 
 
In 1967, United Nations Secretary General, U Thant (himself a Burmese Buddhist), visited Lumbini and made an appeal in front of the international community for assistance to maintain and improve the pitiable plight of this world famous pilgrimage site. Suggestions of development of Lumbini as an international pilgrimage and tourist centre then came into light. And since the implementation of the Master Plan for the development of Lumbini, prepared by Prof. Kenzo Tange in 1978, Lumbini has been a marked scene for development, both as an international pilgrimage as well as a tourist centre. 
 
The late King Mahendra had visited Lumbini and advised the government officers to regard and secure the Buddha's land. King Birendra expressed-'Although Gautama Buddha was born in Nepal, he belonged essentially to the whole world and to all times. He blazed a trail leading humanity to cast off parochialism and seek liberation and enlightenment. For us in Nepal, the way of life which Buddha practiced and propagated has remained an inextricable part of our cultural heritage. Nepalese civilization has brought about a marriage between Hinduism and Buddhism making them inseparable.'
 
In 1895, a German Archaeologist Dr. A. Fuhrer, An Indian researcher Dr. P.C. Mukargee and Nepalese Khadga Shamshere discovered the missing pillar which was set up by the Maurya emperor of India, Ashoka where Gautam Buddha was born-the most visible landmark of the Sacred Garden.The historic importance of the pillar is evidenced by the inscription engraved in the pillar (in Brahmi script).From excavations it has been found that the Ashokan pillar stands on its original base of unborn brick platform which concludes that the Pillar is at its original location. In 1967, United Nations Secretary General, U Thant (himself a Burmese Buddhist), visited Lumbini and made an appeal in front of the international community for assistance to maintain and improve the pitiable plight of this world famous pilgrimage site. Suggestions of development of Lumbini as an international pilgrimage and tourist centre then came into light.
 
The pious land LumbinÄ« 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. 
 
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, we should fallow the Hindu and Buddhism including the constitutional monarchy, to intact the nationality maintaining the co-existence from all sectors. 
 
            Email:dirgharajprasai@gmail.com