Where is the birthplace of Buddha?
"The Light of Asia, Gautama Buddha," was born in Lumbini, Nepal, around the 6th century B.C. The classical Buddhist scripture Suttanipata first mentions Lumbini as the location of Gautama Buddha's birth. "Buddhistta, the magnificent pearl, the exceptional, is born for the benefit and a blessing in the land of Lumbini," the scripture reads. The Lalitavistra and other works of Buddhist literature say that Gautama Buddha was born in Lumbini on the full moon day in May.
Buddha in Sanskrit means "awakened one." The exact date Buddha differs from the one mentioned in scripture to that of traditional belief. Rather than the day he was born, the day he was conceived in his mother's womb is regarded as the day of his birth. According to Buddhist doctrine, the first instance of consciousness that involves the contact of the parent's cells in the mother's womb is actual birth.
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Buddha, too had many lifetimes before becoming enlightened, like other creatures of a mundane World (Samsara). He had a rebirth in Tushita Heaven thanks to the merit accumulated throughout their previous lives. He was born as a Bodhisattva "White Banner" (Shvetaketu). Bodhisattvas hone their qualities and wait in Tushita for the ideal moment and location for their last reincarnation in this world.
This comprises the ideal circumstances, family, caste, and lineage for the soon-to-be Buddha's perfect rebirth. Their Buddha nature guides them on the road to enlightenment as Buddhas.
Bodhisattva Shvetaketu discovered an appropriate chance for reincarnation in the region known as Kapilavastu, Lumbini. King Shudhodhana and Mayadevi ruled the Shakya family. They had a reputation for being fair and kind all around the country. He recognized this as the location of his last rebirth and chose this pair to be his parents.
Buddha's birthplace, Lumbini, has been recognized as a World Heritage Site since 1997. It represents an exceptional worldwide value regarding religious significance, culture, spirituality, and archaeology. Lumbini is a significant source of national pride and a big draw for visitors and pilgrims worldwide.
Lumbini had a lovely garden full of blooming sal trees during the Buddha's lifetime. The Shakyas and the clans both owned the garden and its serene surroundings. Pali and Sanskrit literature both mention Lumbini's beauty. It is reported that Maya Devi was fascinated by Lumbini's natural splendor. The present, the ancient monastic remains, a sacred Bodhi tree, a medieval bathing pond, the renowned Ashoka Pillar, and the Maya Devi Temple all can be found at this location.
Main Highlights of Lumbini
The Maya Devi temple serves as the heart and epicenter of the Lumbini. Today, the Maya Devi Temple is undoubtedly one of the most revered Buddhist locations, making it an extremely popular destination for pilgrims. Inside the modern temple, visitors may see the old temple platform from the 3rd century B.C.
The sacred pool, ancient stupa ruins, and a gathering of maroon- and saffron-robed monks beneath a Bodhi tree adorned with prayer flags may all be found in the sacred garden around the temple.
The Pushkarini Sacred Pool and the Sacred Garden are close to the Maya Devi Temple. The archaeological ruins of this location date back to the period of Ashoka, or around the 3rd century BCE, and this temple commemorates the spot where Maya Devi gave birth to Gautam Buddha. According to history, Gautam Buddha was born around 563 BC.
It houses the Nativity Sculpture, the Marker Stone, and the structural remains, all connected to Lord Shakyamuni Buddha's birth. The Nativity Sculpture represents the birth scene of Prince Siddhartha, and the Marker Stone identifies the precise birth location.
During his return to Lumbini in the 249th century B.C., Emperor Ashoka constructed a platform out of the burned-out bricks to protect the Marker Stone and the Nativity Tree, where Maya Devi gave birth to Prince Siddhartha.
Ashoka Pillar Lumbini
Emperor Ashoka built the Ashoka Pillar at Lumbini in 249 BC to denote Lord Shakyamuni Buddha's birthplace and to honor his visit to Lumbini. The Brahmi script and Pali language of the Ashoka inscription confirm Lumbini as Lord Shakyamuni Buddha's birthplace and decision to adopt Buddhism.
It was the first of its kind to be created since it has the oldest inscription when compared to the other Ashoka stone Pillars. The pillar is an exciting building due to its intriguing and inspiring history and is situated inside the tranquil Maya Devi Temple complex. In 1896, Nepalese archaeologists uncovered this 6-meter-tall pink sandstone building.
The Lord Shakyamuni Buddha's birthplace is the first mentioned epigraphic form on the Ashoka Pillar. The text is translated as follows into Pali and written in Brahmi script:
"King Piyadasi (Ashoka), the beloved of the Gods, in the twentieth year of his reign, himself made a royal visit. Shakyamuni Buddha was born here; therefore, the (birth spot) marker stone was worshipped, and a stone pillar was pitched. The lord having been born here, the tax of the Lumbini village reduced to the eight part (only)."
Early Chinese visitors, such as Hiuen Tsang (636 AD) and Fa-hsien, also mentioned Emperor Ashoka constructing this Pillar at Lumbini (399-413 AD).
Bodhi Tree and Buddha
In Lumbini, the Bodhi Tree is situated on the grounds of the Maya Devi Temple, close to the shrine, beside the calm Maya Devi Pond. Buddhist monks frequently meditate and sing sacred texts while sitting beneath the tree. Locals believe wishes expressed while attaching a multicolored prayer flag are often granted. The tree is a centuries-old peepal.
The significance of the Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gaya is that the Buddha obtained enlightenment and was freed from illusion, rage, and self-indulgence. The tree is frequently used to symbolize the Buddha's complete life path, including when he gave up his throne, became an ascetic, attained enlightenment, and began sharing his insights with others.
The Sacred Pond
The Maya Devi Pond in Lumbini is a square-shaped construction with stairs to ascend to the water level. It is situated directly in front of the Maya Devi Temple. This location, also known as Puskarini, was formerly utilized for bathing by the mother of Gautama Buddha. Buddha took his first bath in this pond. The birthplace of Buddha is now a magnificent temple, and the Maya Devi pond is situated just in front of the shrine. On certain occasions, oil lights are lit after sunset to venerate the sacred location on the stairs around the pond.
A well-kept garden with tall trees and beautiful green shrubs along one side of the pond, while old remains from the 3rd century B.C lie on the other. These ruins are thought to be those of ancient temples and stupas that were enclosed in brick pavilions.
Eternal Peace Flame
One of the main draws of the Lumbini Area, which is placed in the middle of the garden, is the Eternal World Peace Flame. Visitors swarm to see the flame, burning 24 hours a day. It was lighted for the first time on November 1st, 1986 A.D to commemorate the international year of peace. To advance peace and harmony between nations and the global community, the flame was bought from the USA. After a 10-minute walk from the Mayadevi Temple, you may reach the eternal flame.
Lumbini Monastic Site
The Lumbini Monastic Site is one of the most significant places in the entire globe to comprehend Lord Buddha's teachings. On this site, you will discover more about the understanding of human life that Gautam Buddha held. Several monasteries are built in this region, where you may learn about Buddhism in depth.
The monasteries at Lumbini Monastic Site have a lot to offer, ranging from Theravada Buddhism to Vajrayana and Mahayana Buddhism. Other than the lessons, the entire site is excellent. The Lumbini Monastic Site is a beautiful location to reflect on because of the calm ambiance and exquisitely maintained gardens free of Western influences and commercialization.
Lumbini Museum is one of the top attractions in Lumbini, which has a magnificent collection of more than 12000 artifacts. The Kushana and Maurya dynasties are mainly represented through the items seen at this carefully maintained site. By visiting this site, you may view historical artifacts such as terra cotta figures, manuscripts, stamps, and coins.
A Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Kenzo Tange built the Lumbini Museum in 1970. This site's exterior design is remarkable in addition to its content. The Taiwanese influence on the architecture of this museum is evident. This museum's neighborhood is likewise charming. It is a fantastic location to discover the natural history of Lumbini.
World Peace Pagoda
The World Peace Pagoda is one of Nepal's highly regarded and appealing peace pagodas. This monument, created to encourage peace between India and Japan, is well-known among tourists. The majestic structure is striking and lovely because of its milky white tint.
You must go up two flights of steps to see this monument. By circling the adjacent dome after ascending the stairs, you may also receive a panoramic perspective of the area. Every day of the week, everyone is welcome to attend, explore, learn, and be inspired by the Symbol of Peace to follow the path of non-violence and live in harmony, which is essential today.
At 105 meters above sea level, Lumbini is located in the Rupandehi District in southern Terai. It is the place that a person of devotion should go to and observe to become aware of and understand the nature of impermanence. The land around the property has a rich natural setting with domesticable wildlife and an excellent agricultural climate.