Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without – Buddha

Posts Tagged ‘U Thant’

Tidbits of Nepali Journalism ‘’Buddha was born in ……..’’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 6, 2014

By Chiranjibi Paudyal

Chiranjibi-PaudyalThat evening, Indian Defence minister Fernandes haBuddha born in Nepald hosted a reception in honour of the participants of the conference. When I met in the reception, he was little bit furious and adamant to his statement. We had arguments. I said ‘Buddha was born in Nepal’ but he said ‘Buddha was born in India.’ I asked him ‘’who told you and how did you know Buddha was born in India’’, he said me ‘’had read since his childhood that Buddha was born in Northern India.’’ I told him if you read UN documents then you will know the real fact. I was so infuriated that I said little bit loudly: ‘’ Do you know ‘’U Thant?’’ You should know UN Secretary General from Asia? Then he said ‘’ Why not.’’

So you must be aware that there is UN project in Lumbini which is in Nepal since the time of U Thant. When I repeatedly said UN Project then he seemed to be convinced, and felt embarrassed. I arranged an interview with him for next morning in the same hotel where we were staying. When we sat for interview, I asked the same question to him like a teacher repeatedly asks a same question to a weak student. Later he corrected saying ‘Buddha was born in Nepal.’

Famous poet Sir Edwin Arnold to UN official say Buddha was born in India distorting the fact and hurting the sentiment of millions of Nepali around the globe. However, I had the opportunity to persuade a senior UN official to make him understand and acknowledge that ‘’ Gautam Buddha was born in Nepal.’’ Read the rest of this entry »

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Greater Lumbini Master Plan: A Herculean Task Ahead

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 6, 2012

DR. JIBA RAJ POKHAREL

Dahal has a tall hill to climb‚ as the Greater Lumbini Project will be almost ten times costly than Lumbini alone. It is a Herculean task indeed. The need of revisiting the present rather ambitious Lumbini plan without diluting its sanctity and concepts has already been expressed in different quarters

Lumbini is again in the news, after remaining in the sidelines for a long time, following the formation of a high level committee chaired by the former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. And, why shouldn’t it be when it is the birthplace of Buddha? Buddha’s notion that there is suffering in the world with desire as its cause has touched the heart and mind of innumerable people around the globe. It is unfortunate that Lumbini should face developmental constraints due to shortage of funds.

This is, however, not the first time that Lumbini has been virtually raised from the ashes in its three thousand year history. It came into prominence in 563 BC when Buddha was born. Lumbini was in the limelight during the visit of Emperor Ashoka, who erected the Lumbini pillar bearing an inscription of the birth of Buddha in 249 BC. Lumbini appears to have started to fall into oblivion as none of the visiting Chinese travelers Mr Yuch Chih in the fourth century, Mr. Fa Hsien in the fifth century and Mr. Yuan Chwang in the seventh make a mention of the all important Lumbini pillar inscription, implying that it was buried in the earth, and nobody bothered to maintain it which reflects serious neglect. It is reiterated by the observation of the horse capital of Lumbini pillar lying on the ground by Mr. Wang Hiuen Tse remaining unattended again in the seventh century. Lumbini was still well known as a Buddist religious site till the visit of Ripu Malla in the year 1312, which is evident from the inclusion of a popular Buddhist verse om mani padmeham in his inscription. But, after that the popularity of Lumbini seems to have taken a nose dive, as Khadga Shamsher had to clear several feet of earth around the Lumbini pillar, when he visited it in the year 1896 along with Mr. Fuhrer. It was given a new lease of life by Kaisher Shamsher in 1928, when he did some construction work. The visit of U Thant, the United Nations General Secretary in the 1950s, was instrumental for the present revival of Lumbini. He mobilized the international community leading to the formation of an International Committee for the development of Lumbini under the umbrella of the United Nations. This international move triggered the inception of Lumbini Development Committee in an effort to coordinate works at the national level.  Read the rest of this entry »

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An Interview with Dr. Minendra Rijal by Mikel Durham

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 7, 2012

Dr. Rijal is a member of Nepal’s recently created Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee, chaired by ex-Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. Dr. Rijal, a member of the Nepali Congress political party, is also a current member of the Constituent Assembly, ex-Minister of Culture and Chairman of Apex College. Mikel Durham interviewed Dr. Rijal focussing on Lumbini issue.

DUNHAM: You’ve recently been appointed as a Member of the Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee. Now that the committee has been created, what progress can be reported?

RIJAL: So far, we have not been able to spend as much time as is needed to move the Lumbini project forward. Prachanda is terribly busy with the politics of the country. In some respects, I am also quite busy — nothing compared to his busy schedule but –

DUNHAM: How many members are on the committee?

RIJAL: Right now we are a six-member committee. And then there is a provision to add another eleven members later on.

DUNHAM: Prachanda is Chair.

RIJAL: Yes.

DUNHAM: What has the committee actually done so far?

RIJAL: We went to New York and saw the Secretary General (SG) of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, in November. And the reason we went was that we wanted the involvement of the UN in the development of Lumbini.

It all started, however, when, earlier, I was the Minister of Culture. At that time, I established contact with Ban Ki-moon’s office and he extended an invitation. I went there. I presented my argument on Lumbini and he was very keen. He has long been interested in helping Lumbini and in realizing its potential. I knew that his mother was a devoted Buddhist and felt that her son, as Secretary General, should do something for Lumbini.

For his part, Ban Ki-moon also feels that it is his obligation on behalf of the larger Asian Buddhist community– he is the second Asian Secretary General – to do something for Lumbini.

That was one reason, last November, that we thought he could be of great help. And the visibility of his office was going to be very important to help Lumbini realize its potential.

We had a very nice conversation. He was the one who told us that Madam Bokova [Director-General of UNESCO] is also very keen to see that Lumbini is developed to it’s potential. She’s very interested in the preservation site.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Lumbini, Birthplace of Lord Buddha

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 18, 2012

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Development of Lumbini

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 25, 2011

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Lumbini Master Plan

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 10, 2011

The United Nations Development Programme contributed nearly one million dollars for preparation of a Master Plan for the development of Lumbini, including numerous engeering and archaeological studies. The plan, which was completed in 1978, has as its objecive to restore an area of about 7.7 kM2, to be known as the Lumbini Garden, centering on the garden and the Ashoka Pillar, with an additional area of 64.5 km2 to be developed in its support.

                                                                                       

UN Secretary General                                                                                                         Prof Kenzo Tange 
Late U Thant

According to architect Kenzo Tange, “the overall intent is to reinforce the symbolic entity of the Lumbini Garden in its simplicity and clarity’.. Development will provide for visitors to Lumbini – pilgrims and tourists – and will also support such complementary activities as residence of monks, research, international meetings and teachings.

Masterplan Map

Within the plan for the development of Lumbini Garden, there are three main components:

1. New Lumbini Village

2. The Cultural Centre/Monastic Zone

3. The Sacred Garden

The design is oriented north-south,with Lumbini Village and Cultural Centre north, and the focus of the design – the Sacred Garden – to the. south. On either side of the axis towards its southern end are the monastic enclaves. The entire development is tied together by a central link comprised of a walkway and a canal.

  The design is oriented north-south,with Lumbini Village and Cultural Centre north, and the focus of the design – the Sacred Garden – to the. south. On either side of the axis towards its southern end are the monastic enclaves. The entire development is tied together by a central link comprised of a walkway and a canal.

This central link establishes the solitude and sanctity of the Sacred Garden,with its pillar and spectacular panorama of the Himalaya, and offers pilgrims time and space to prepare themselves as they approach the Sacred Garden.

The Monastic zone is situated in the forest area north of the Sacred garden, divided by a canal, there are East and West Monastic Enclaves having 42 plots each allotted for new monasteries of Theravada and Mahayana sects of Buddhism. Nearby, across the central link bridge, a research center, a library, an auditorium, and a museum provide facilities for research and study on Buddhism.

The Northern part of the site is being developed as the New Lumbini Village which is also a gateway to the outer world where the visitors can find comfortable lodges and restaurants offering high standard facilities.

Concerning the birth of the Lord Buddha here, the Chinese account articulates a very interesting incident saying that Queen Mayadevi, mother of the lord had a bath at the pool here and then grasped the branch of a tree facing the east, she brought forth the Lord on the ground thus, making Lumbini a sacred place. It is also said that Lord Buddha walked seven steps as soon as he stepped on the mother earth. Read the rest of this entry »

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