Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Blog

Welcome to Lumbini, Nepal – the birthplace of Buddha

NEPAL’S LUMBINI: WHERE THE BUDDHA WAS BORN

Posted by worldamity on February 14, 2010

“…. Hida  Bhagavm Jateti Lumini Game“( The Lord  Buddha was born here in Lumbini Village). The full text of the inscription in English reads: “Twenty years after the coronation, Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi (Ashok) visited this place and worshiped because here, Lord Buddha, sage of Sakyamuni was born”.[1]

By  B. K. Rana

General Background:

Lumbini, the present southwestern Nepalese Tarai, is one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimages on the earth. Lumbini presents herself as a land of eternal peace and serenity. In fact it is a fountain of love, compassion, nonviolence and world peace also. The importance of this holiest pilgrimage is profound because Buddha was born here some 2600 years ago.

The young pregnant princess Maya Devi was on her way from Kapilvastu to Devadaha[1], her father’s home, as the time had come to deliver[2] baby Siddhartha Gautama – the future Buddha. The ‘Pradimoksha Van’ – Lumbini Garden – as so enchanting it was, she virtually could not resist ! She thought to stroll around the garden and take a bath also in ‘Pushkarini’ pond down there since the destination was not that far away. After the bath, she felt some pain in her stomach. Lo, she went into labour before reaching Devadaha! And a baby boy was born to become – the Enlightened One – the Buddha, the prince of peace, love and compassion. It was on the full moon day, Friday, Vaisakha of 623 B.C[3] .

As soon as the baby boy had entered the world, ‘he walked seven steps northwards on lotus petals; raised right hand forefinger and spoke, “Aggohamamsi Lokassa”[4] . At least two celestial figures began pouring water in his worship. In joy lotuses were thrown down from the heaven also’. This is what the Buddhist texts read and the Buddhists also believe in.

Emperor Ashok, having caused a huge bloodshed and loss of lives in the 12 year Kalinga War[5], eventually embraced Buddhism to spread Buddha’s message of nonviolence, compassion and love towards all living beings on the land. Hoping to find peace in mind, he paid a visit to this holiest site in the 20th year of his coronation in 249 B. C. He offered worship to the holy land and ordered exemption of 1/8th on produce tax from the people of Lumbini Village. Such portion used to be a considerable relief to the people of the land at that time.

To commemorate his visit, the emperor erected a stone column engraving a short edict which even today reads: Hida Budhe Jateti Luminigamme – ‘Budddha was born here in Lumbini Village’ so it will be – Ubalike Kate Athabhagiya cha – waived 1/8th of tax on produce henceforward. The Ashokan visit to Lumbini revived waning Buddhism prompting more construction works of monasteries and the likes around the birth place from the 3rd century B.C. to 6th century A. D. – recent Lumbini excavations reveal.

Although, not trained on archaeology or epigraphy but having deep interest in the subject and visited Lumbini scores of times and seen through eyes the inscription on the Ashokan Pillar beside the present Maya Devi Temple  and other archaeological sites such as Devadaha, Niglihawa and Gotihawa etc. here in this sort write-up, I intend to discuss the profound importance of the Lumbini Ashokan Inscription in determining where the Buddha – the Light of Asia – was born.

Discovery of Ashokan Inscriptions[6] :

Dr. Anton A. Fuhrer discovered Lumbini Ashokan Pillar on December 1, 1896. He saw the pillar ‘standing nine feet above the ground’. And which he later excavated and found the Ashokan inscription ‘10 feet below the surface and 6 feet above the base’[7]. The inscription definitively reads Buddha being born in Lumbini of present Nepal. However, there are some researchers out there who doubt it and opine Lumbini ‘a Fuhrer-forged name’ of the village. Whatever be the case, the Ashokan inscription on the pillar standing in the Lumbini Garden can not be debated for its originality.

A similar type of Ashokan inscription was discovered in Kapileswara, Orrisa in 1928. Naturally, this new Ashokan inscription could cause a kind of sensation among archaeologists around the world. Thus a controversy on Buddha birth place began. The Kapilesawara inscription gave birth to a new controversy on the Buddha birth place, which has not yet ceased since a century almost.

Few researchers, particularly from Orrisa, India have been found holding ‘nationalistic view’ regarding the Buddha birth place which may seem natural in their part but such view appears more partisan than of any academic credence. The Kapileswara inscription is the sole object brought forward in this case; which eminent epigraphists and anthropologists have not received and shared seriously rather termed it – ‘not genuine’ or ‘spurious copy of the record’.

The Orrisan scholars argue that Buddha was born in Kapileswara village near the present Bhuvaneshawra in Orissa; not in Lumbini of Nepal. Those who hold this view basically have the following while making their points:

a) Kapileswara Ashokan Inscription discovered in 1928[8],

b) ‘Lembai Pragana’ seen in the maps of 1817 and,

c) Kapileswara in Bhubaneswar, Orrisa.

i) Raising a question of authenticity on the present Lumbini Ashokan inscription, Prof. Nabin K. Sahu, a historian from Orrisa published a book in 1959 and wrote ‘ Buddha was born in Orrisa’[9]. Then another book came out to the public eye which reads: ‘the real birth place of Buddha is Kapileswara; not Lumbini of Nepal’. This is apparently a book for fun-reading than any academic excellence[10]. The writer also goes deep into cultural level and finds Buddha marrying his maternal uncle’s daughter- Yashodhara. He says, ‘this culture is living in Orrisa even today[11]’. Such culture is living even today also among Nepal’s Magar people who live thickly near the hills of Lumbini[12]. There are some other cultural issues he brings forward with which I may prefer not going along in this short write-up. The Buddha-era culture is living with Magars of Nepal but a question pops out: Can such a culture last more than 2600 years in some particular community of people ?

ii) The ‘Lembai Pragana’  seen in a Orrisan maps of 1817 has been brought forward in support of Orrisa Buddha birth place claim. The Orrisan scholars seem to have found Nepal’s Ashokan ‘Lumbini’ as the corrupt form of ‘Lembai’ of Orissan Kapilesawara or vice versa. These two toponyms look similar but phonetically they are not. They do not have same philological value also.[ please see – Lumbini Lexical Analysis – below]

iii) The Orissa scholars do not accept present Nepal’s Kapilvastu as the place where Buddha grew up and where from King Shuddodhan ruled. Their belief strengthens even more when western scholars, like Alexander Cunnigham [1814 – 1893], believe such historic  spot near Bhulia in Basti district in North West Indian province. They brush aside Max Muller who disagrees with Cunnigham terming the latter’s view ‘clearly wrong’[13]. Max Muller holds the view that present Nepal’s Kapilvastu is the kingdom that Buddha renounced.

Some scholars have misquoted Cunningham as saying the Lumbini inscription “not at all related to the name Kapilavastu nor the word Kapil also”[14]. It is a perplexing remark made against the English scholar because he was already dead in 1893 before the discovery of Lumbini inscription was made in 1896. Of course there can be an agreement that Sir Cunnigham does not seem to have a clear view on whether the Buddha was born in present Nepal’s Kapilvastu or Lumbini as he writes the Buddha was born in Kapila (Kapilvastu); proceeds forward in another page and again writes the lord was born in Lumbini. But his description offers a clear picture of present Kapilvastu where the Buddha spent his childhood and youth age as well.

While discussing the territory of Sravasti, Cunnigham discusses some of the western regions of present Nepal also. He quotes Hwen Tsang’s travelogue that Sravasti was in between Karnali river in the west and the mountain Dhaulagiri and Faizabad in the east. The Karnali river, one of the major rivers in western Nepal, flows south till today towards the Ganges in Utter Pradesh, India. The Mt. Dhaulagiri is one of the eight-thousanders in western Nepal. From Sravasti both Fa-Hian and Hwen Tsang proceeded towards Kapilvastu in the south east direction [both measure 13 yojanas or 91 miles and 500 li or 83 miles respectively][15]. Although the description is hazier, it can point the right location of present Kapilvastu.

Moving back to the Kapileswara inscription in discussion, Prof. Dines Chandra Sircar, a distinguished epigraphist of India, degrades it as ‘a recent forgery’ and ‘spurious nature of record’. He has discussed it at length in his book and even ridiculed Prof. Vincent A. Smith [1843 – 1920] for publishing a ‘retouched facsimile of the record’ in his history books prescribed for school and university level students of India.

Prof. Sircar adds further up, “The same facsimile became widely known in Eastern India with its reproduction in Hari Parsad Sastri’s ‘History of India’ (in Bengali) meant for school children and later in some text books of the kind. There can hardly be any doubt that the people responsible for the Kapilesawra inscription copied it from the same facsimile not much earlier than 1928”[16]

On the Kapileswara Ashokan inscription, U. C. Mohanty has quoted Prof. Nirmal Kumar Bose, a renowned anthropologist of India as saying, “In order to clarify this issue I asked Maharana to explain this deviation at the end. Maharana narrated that while he was carving the inscription, at the last line there was some shortage of space. When Maharana pointed this difficulty to Biren Babu he suggested to him to cover the empty space with some chisel marks so that the line could not be completed.”

Mohanty further quotes Prof. Bose as saying ” when this discovery was announced Government made some local enquiries through the Collector of Puri. But Biren Roy was shrewed enough to bribe a Brahmin of Kapileswar with a ten rupee note and this Brahmin deposed before the Revenue Officer that the inscription had been discovered from a broken wall of his house while it was being reconstructed[17].”

Lumbini Lexical Analysis:

The Lumbini Ashokan Pillar standing by the ‘Maya Devi Temple’ in Lumbini Garden speaks the fact for ever. The writing on the pillar,- ‘hida bhagabvam jateti Lummnigame’ – exclusively provides a proof that the Buddha was born in present Nepal’s Lumbini some 2600 years ago. It is therefore worthwhile discussing the lexical importance of  – ‘Lummini+game’ i.e. ‘Lumbini’ also.

Fa-Hian transcribes ‘Lumbini’ as ‘Lun-min or Lun-ming’ with two distinctive nasal variations whereas Hwen Tsang ‘sinotizes’ it as ‘La-fa-ni’. These two Fa-Hian and Hwen Tsang variations are due to their reception of a different family lexis. Such difference normally occurs among the speakers of different language families. Here the Indo-European ‘Lumbini’ has either become ‘Lun-min or Lun-ming’ or ‘La-fa-ni’ in Sino-Tibetan, which is very understandable. This is natural and there should be no specific meanings attached to them. But some scholars find Hwen Tsang’s ‘La-fa-ni’ corresponding with ‘La-va-ni’ of Sanskrit, which means ‘a beautiful woman’. Phonetically, ‘La-fa-ni’ and ‘La-va-ni’ bear same voiced and voiceless i.e pharyngeal fricative features. ‘La-fa-ni’ more in a sense is a ‘folk-etymological toponymy’ of ‘Lumbini’  which could have been something like ‘Lam-ba-ni’ referring to later Chinese Buddhist lexicography[18]. This lexicography looks somewhat funnier. The lexes ‘Lafani’ and ‘Lavani’ here seem to be  referring to Buddha’s grand mother who might have been a beautiful woman.

Some scholars believe ‘Anjan, the king of Devadaha[19] made a beautiful garden and named it ‘Lumbini’ after his Queen Lumbini. The queen was Buddha’s grandmother from his mother’s side’. Not much information is available on the Queen Mother Lavani, however, she could give a famous name for the garden where the Buddha was born[20].  Etymologically, ‘Lumbini’ or Lumbinidevi, Rummindehi, Rupandevi and Rupandehi bear the same distinctive feature.

What is also claimed is that Lumbini is other form of ‘Lhum + beni’[21] with an aspirated ‘l’ of which ‘Lhum’ means ‘a vast land’ and ‘beni’ means ‘confluence of two rivers’. Lumbini is on a vast land or ‘Tarai’ of western Nepal. And also, there seem to have been some sizable waters around Lumbini in  those days. Such as some springs at Lumbini and the Telar river[22] flowing south east of it. They should have made a confluence near Lumbini.

Lumbini, Anton Fuhrer and Controversy:

In some cases, Lumbini and Anton Fuhrer stand complementary to each other. Fuhrer discovered the Ashokan pillar and read the engraved letter ‘hid bhagavam jateti Luminigame’. And knew the place was and is Lumbini. He discovered the right spot where Buddha was born. But some scholars both inside and outside Orrisa cast doubt over the landmark Fuhrer discovery. Some have named it ‘Fuhrer archaeological scandal’ also. The present site is not what Fa-Hian or When Tsang have described or found or written in other Buddhist scriptures – they add. Further more, they even say that Fuhrer confessed his forgery in written.

The controversy over present Nepalese Lumbini has not ceased since a century almost. Scholars, writers, journalists from around the world are  writing mainly from two different angles: Whether Buddha was born in Lumbini of Nepal or somewhere in India. Some people also argue Buddha was born neither in Nepal’s Lumbini nor in any part of India. A bunch of western scholars hold this view point. What is even startling is that few other scholars have started writing Buddha was born in Iran![23] The Lumbini Ashokan Pillar Inscription has not received a universal recognition yet.

And, not a single research paper or book has come out without any partisan line in this subject. Some scholars are found solely sticking to ‘manufactured myths’ while discussing Buddha birth place. Myths are manufactured in leisure and mostly are unreliable. From the part of Nepalese scholars, they have even now begun discussing’ a ’marker stone’ that they hope ‘would  determine the exact location !’

How could such a stone be a definitive evidence that the Buddha was born exact in that chamber there ? What on earth would researchers and scholars from around the world simply accept such a publicity in media and ‘put the debate to rest’ as the prime minister had hoped for?[24] This view contradicts with that in scriptures or travelogues of different famous travelers that Buddha was born under a tree either Ashok or Sal – we don’t know for sure. But of-course, we believe Buddha was born in present day Nepal’s Lumbini.

Nepal, not in India:

The Buddha was born in present Nepal, not in India – clear and simple. Some Indian writers in the past willfully or otherwise supplied wrong information in history books about Buddha birth place and put them into school, college syllabuses. Then each generation students began receiving wrong information. Inculcated with wrong information, the new generation students later grew up and began disseminating ‘false information’ without going deep into the facts. What they were taught they wrote it. The facts on the ground did not match – controversy began.

In short,  the Orissan claim that the Ashokan Inscription was copied  and duplicate pillar was erected in Lumbini of Nepal bears no substance at all. The simple question to this claim is, who would have copied the old Asokan inscription hundreds of years later  and hid in Nepal’s Tarai to protect from those violent  Sankarachayras hundreds of miles away ? Why not they dug a hole and hid under ground somewhere in Orissa as in Kathmandu’s Budhanilkantha[25] ?

Besides Hwen Tsang and Fa-hian’s travelogues, the internal evidence of the Pali canon is clear enough: Buddha was born in Lumbini, near Kapilavastu, which used to be one of the Bihar-area tribal Gana polities like their neighbors; the Malla, where he died, or the powerful Vrijji etc. All of them were in present Bihar or Nepalese Tarai, not in Orissa.

Majjhima Desha, Jambu Dwipa:

There can be hardly any different opinions that the importance of media in the Google age is extraordinarily great and challenging. Therefore, media people are always expected to publish or transmit correct information to the public. But as of the Buddha birth place conspiracy theory, some of those media persons have been found misquoting scholars of international name and standing. Such a misquoted scholar has become Prof. Hermann Kulke, a renowned indologist now awarded with ‘Padma Shri’ for his outstanding contribution towards Indian History and Culture. The award is the fourth highest of civilian awards given by the Government of India generally to recognize someone’s distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity including Arts, Education, Industry, Literature, Science, Sports, Medicine, Social Service and public life.

Prof. Kulke needed to issue a public statement following a leading daily newspaper from New Delhi, India and some other news outlets[26] misquoted him ‘backing the Orrisan claim’. Refuting what it had appeared in the media, Prof. Kulke posted a statement on December 21, 2004[27].

Another less heard  but an interesting claim so far made by another Orrisan scholar is that Buddha himself had said he was born in the “Majjhima Desha of Jambu Dwipa’. He argues the ‘Majjhima Desh’ of Jambu Dwip can not be Nepal. Here the writer himself appears to be forgetting that Orrisa too, doesn’t happen to be in central India or ‘Majjhima Desh of Jambu Dwip’. Orrisa is at the east edge by the Bay of Bengal in the Indian subcontinent. It is not at the center of India.  The writer quotes, “Edward J. Thomas[28] had clearly said that the Jatakas and Lalita Vistara described the words of Buddha himself in this connection” of his birth in the Middle Province of India.[29]

On the growing list, the Orrisan scholars have also dragged down a noted Oxford historian Prof. Vincent A. Smith to the Lumbini – Fuhrer controversy. They claim Prof. Smith did not accept Dr. Fuhrer’s naming of ‘Lumbini’ to the spot where the Ashokan pillar was standing. This is also a wrong interpretation of what the historian has written. Posting the top part broken, half-excavated photo of the pillar in his book Prof. Smith writes, “The Rummindei ruins lie 4 miles inside the Nepalese border, and a little to the west of the Tilar, river”[30]. I am at a loss to understand why the Orrisan scholars have required dragging this scholar to this controversy?

The other point brought in this conspiracy theory is that ‘no Buddhism was adopted in Nepal until the 6th Century A. D. So the Lumbini Ashokan inscription bears no truth.’ This is also another bewildering remark the Orrisan scholars have made so far in this connection – I would write.

What can be said here is that King Ashok had visited Nepal (Kathmandu valley) sometime after his pilgrimage to Lumbini and constructed four stupas in four different corners of the valley. He gave his daughter Charumati to Devpal – prince of Nepal. Charumati lived in Chabahil near Pashupati Temple. After the death of her husband Devapal, Charumati built a town and named it – ‘Devpatan’ – in memory of the dead husband. Later she became a nun herself and spread Buddhism in the valley.

Conclusion:

So, where was Buddha born? The straight answer to this question is absolutely ‘yes, in present Nepal’s Lumbini’. The Lumbini Ashokan inscription is the evidence. Alongside the Lumbini garden, are Bodha Gaya in Bihar, Kushinagar, [Kshauvati in Jatak Katha, the Capital City of Malla] in Utter Pradesh and Sarnath, also in Utter Pradesh. These are the other Buddhist holiest places in the Indian Subcontinent closely related to the Buddha’s life. Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar are near Nepal border whereas Saranath [also called Isipatana in Pali Canon, is near Vanaras] in Utter Pradesh. Being in the proximity of Lumbini, these holiest sites also offer themselves as another proof that Buddha was born here in Nepal’s Lumbini. If the Buddha were born in Orrisa or somewhere else, these kinds of holy sites would have also certainly been near Orrisa or somewhere else by some different names.

The Buddha came to this world, obtained enlightenment, preached his ‘dharma’ and died in those four different holy places. Except for those four different places, he does not seem to have visited some other places in his life. So there should be no question whether Buddha was born in Orrisa or had ever visited it. It is therefore relevant to put here the widely acclaimed native Orrisa historian Prof. Karuna Sagar Behera’s view in this connection.

Prof. Behera said, “The Buddha was neither born in Orissa nor visited the place during his lifetime.” [31], But he added that Orrisa has contributed immensely to the growth and development of Buddhism in the Indian sub-continent. Keeping in view, the paramount historical and religious importance, of these four holiest Buddhist pilgrimages, concerned governments should always endeavour to preserve them and develop for tourism  and education also. These governments should also keep close eyes on school curricula exclusively on matters relating to the birth place of the Buddha so that coming generations would receive correct information and no chances would be left wide open for any kind of antagonism between the peoples of these two neighbouring countries.

Additionally at the end, there were no boundaries that we have today in between Nepal and India when Buddha was born. We do not know for sure whether these two country names ever existed then. Here is a quote from George Curzon, former Viceroy of India but earlier a geographer who trekked through the Pamirs and wrote a book about it: “The idea of a demarcated frontier is itself an essentially modern conception which finds little or no place in the ancient world.”[32]

And, Prof. Michael Witzel at Harvard University says, “Between 1816 and 1864, the Buddha was born, at Lumbini (Rummindei),in British India. Before and after that date: in Nepal”.

*******

References:

Buhler, G.- [1897] The Discovery of Buddha’s Birthplace-  The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

Cunnigham, Alexander – [1871] – The Ancient Geography of India – Trubner and Co. 60 Paternoster Row, London

Deeg, Max – [2003] – The Places Where Siddhartha Trod: Lumbini and Kapilvastu – Lumbini International Research Institute, Lumbini, Nepal.

Huntington, John C. – [1986] – Orientations – September, 1986 – Showing the Seeds of the Lotus: A Journey to the Great Pilgrimage Site of Buddhism Part V.

Mohanty, U. C – [1976]- EXTRACT FROM ‘TWO ANECDOTES NARRATED BY TWO ARCHAEOLOGISTS’, (Orissa Historical Research Journal, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 16-20, 1976) – Courtesy Terrnece Phelps.

Muller, F. Max – [1898] – Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, Vol – CLXIV – July- December 1898,

Sahu, Nabin Kumar – [1959]-  Buddhism in Orrisa – 1959,

Sircar, Dinesh Chandra [1965] – Indian Epigraphy – Reprint 1996, Motilal Banarasi Das New Delhi, India.

Smith, Vincent Arther -[1914] –  The Early History of India, From 600 B. C. to Muhammadan Conquest – Oxford at the Clarendon Press.

Thomas, Edward J. – [ 1993] – The life of Buddha: As Legend and History, First Indian edition, New Delhi.


[1] Also called Ramagrama, 26 kilometers east of present Lumbini Garden.

[2] Used to be custom to deliver baby in one’s father’s house.

[3] This is Shri Lankan dating of Buddha birth. There are some variations.

[4] Jatak Attha Katha  – “I am the foremost of all the creatures  of the world to cross the riddle of the  ocean of existence. I have come to the  world to show the path of  Emancipation. This is my last birth and hereafter I will not be born again”

[5] [5]At least 150,000 were made POW [prisoners of war] and 100,000 were killed and that many times that number perished from famine, pestilence and other calamities afterwards [Smith, 1914, pp. 138 ]

[6] ‘The Real Birth Place Of Buddha Yesterday’s Kapilavastu, Today’s Kapileswar’, Orrisa Historical Research Journal – 2004  http://tinyurl.com/ya7ejdh

[7] The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland http://tinyurl.com/ylren2d

[8] On August 24, 1928  a news broke out from a local newspaper the ‘Daily Asha’ that an Ashokan inscription was discovered in Kapileswara of Orrisa. Scholars began discussing its originality. Some supported the view that the new find was the real whereas a bunch of others stood against. It was reported by a local journalist in Oriya Language. And then another article appeared in ‘Prabashi’ in support of the inscription in July 1928. Casting doubt over the new find, another article came out in the same magazine in October 1928. In 1929 the view was discredited again and it is going on and on.

[9] “It is quite amazing to note that an inscription has been discovered from Kapileswar which contains the same subject matter as found in the Tarai Pillar inscription. The scripts of it belong to the time of Ashok and a script writer named “Chundraya” had written them. He had signed his name in Kharostri script. From his inscription it is found that Buddha Dev was born in Orrisa’ [Buddhism in Orrisa – 1959, pp 1-2].

[10] “The Shakyas and Kolios were much interested in producing scented rice to eat. Suddhodan was the father of Goutam Buddha. Literally one who likes pure rice is known as Suddhodana. Sinhayuna was the grand father of Goutam Buddha, who had five sons. The names of his sons were given in a manner that every name is related to rice only. i)Suddhodana,ii)Amitodana iii)Dhautodana,iv) Suklodan, v) Sukhodana”. All five have the same last name ending at ‘dhan’ – meaning – rice [‘dhan’- in Nepali also]’ because ‘they loved growing different types of flavoured rice”.- Chakradhar Mahapatra – The Real Birth Place of Buddha – 1977.

[11] John C. Huntington offers a side-note to the book “The Real Birth Place of Buddha – 1977” as “of little scholarly value, if the writer has a fairly thorough knowledge of the archaeology of the pilgrimage route, it is fun to read” [Showing the Seeds of the Lotus: A Journey to the Great Pilgrimage Site of Buddhism Part V’ – Orientations – September, 1986] http://tinyurl.com/yloex8d

[12] This culture is living in Nepal’s Magar and Gurung Society also.

[13] Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, Vol – CLXIV – July- December 1898, pp 787

[14] PRESENT KAPILESWARA OF ODISHA IS THE THEN KAPILA VASTU OF KALINGA http://tinyurl.com/yk5a5sw

[15] Hwen Tsang assigns  kingdom of Sravasti  a circuit of 4000 li, or 667 miles which is about double the actual size of territory lying between the Ghagra river  and the foot of the mountains;  but as he assigns the same dimensions to the  territory of Nepal, it is probable that in his time the two western districts of Malbhum  and Khachhi , in the hills to the north, may at that time belonged to Sravasti. The territory of Sravasti would thus have comprised all the country lying  between Himalaya mountains  and the Ghagra river , from Karnali river in the west  to the mountain of Dhaolagiri and Faizabad in the east. [Cunnigham, 1871 – pp. 413/414]

[16] Dines C. Sircar – Indian Epigraphy – 1965 reprint 1996 –  pp 437/438 http://tinyurl.com/kvv4rs

[17] EXTRACT FROM ‘TWO ANECDOTES NARRATED BY TWO ARCHAEOLOGISTS’, (Orissa Historical Research Journal, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 16-20, 1976) – Courtesy: Terrence Phelps http://tinyurl.com/yj37xpe

[18] Fayun’s Fanyi-mingyi-ji [Collection of the Meaning of Translated Names] – ‘Linweini,or Luimini or, Lanpini mean ‘ place of redemption’ or ‘ circle of light of happiness’- [Max Deeg, 2003]

[19] Which is also called Ramgram in Nawalparasi district some 26 kilometers east of Lumbini.

[20] Some writer have treated Lumbini garden as Maya Devi Garden which is  not true. The garden existed before Buddha was born.

[21] This nomenclature in Magar language, a Tibeto-Burman language, spoken around the present Lumbini, may offer partisan meaning but it is not less reasonable than the  Chinese Buddhist lexicography discussed in this article.

[22] The Telar river [Oil River]

[23] Now comes the earth-moving discovery by the Indian researcher. He claims that Buddhism arose, not in North India, but in what is now Iran, that part of Iran which was formerly a part of India (so called India within Iran). See “Zoroaster and Gotama in a Non-Jonesean Framework” http://tinyurl.com/y9ub4aw

[24] An international team of archeologists has reported discovering the chamber where Buddha was born more than 2,500 years ago, 16 feet beneath an ancient temple in southwestern Nepal. The archeologists said they had found relics under the Mayadevi temple in Lumbini, 200 miles southwest of the Himalayan kingdom’s capital Kathmandu. Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said the discovery put to rest an international debate on whether Buddha, whose followers now number nearly 350 million worldwide, was born in Nepal or India.  http://tinyurl.com/yky7ne3

[25] Kathmandu’s Budhanilakantha is said to have been hid under ground  to protect it from Muslim invader Samsuddin Elias in 13th century

[26]German researcher claims Buddha born in Orissa?

http://tinyurl.com/ydq3equ

[27] KULKE REJECTS ORRISA BUDDHA BIRTHPLACE CLAIM [AND POSTS A STATEMENT BELOW TO HIS COLLEAGUES THROUGH AN EMAIL MESSAGE.] http://tinyurl.com/ydhsm7d

[28] Edward J. Thomas – The life of Buddha: As Legend and History, First Indian edition – 1993 – http://tinyurl.com/ye2mrfk

[29] PRESENT KAPILESWARA OF ODISHA IS THE THEN KAPILAVASTU OF KALINGA – http://utkal-history.blogspot.com/

[30] ”in approximately E.Long. 85.11 N. lat. 25.58. Padaria is a neighbouring village. The Nigliva pillar, which apparently has been moved from its original position now stands about 13 miles to the  north-west from Rummindei. For facsimile of Rummindei inscription see Asoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India, plate ii” [Smith – 1914 – pp 169]

[31] New debate on birthplace of Buddha

by Rabindra Nath Choudhury, The Asian Age India, Sept 14, 2005

Bhubaneswar, India — There seems to be no end to the controversy over the birthplace of Lord Buddha. The latest claim that the apostle of peace was born in Orissa has been challenged by historian Karuna Sagar Behera. He said, “The Buddha was neither born in Orissa nor visited the place during his lifetime.” Mr Behera said the claims made in this regard could go against the interests of the state.

http://tinyurl.com/yl3jlyv

[32] Frits Staal, Chiangmai,Thai Land

16 Responses to “NEPAL’S LUMBINI: WHERE THE BUDDHA WAS BORN”

  1. In my perception yhat I have researched for 7-8 years ago.

    The Buddha was born in present Myanmar, not in both India and Nepal.

    Please carefully read my new hypothesis below…

    A New Hypothesis About the Sacred Places of the Lord Buddha

    Now, I have an excellent news to inform to you.The first, let me to introduce myself for better familiar. My name is Ekkissaro Waroonsri,I am a Thai engineer not an Archaeologist,works in Bangkok, Thailand.But about 8 years ago,I have devoted to study the new hypothesis about the Buddha’s birthplace,Buddha’s attain enlightenment,Buddha’s first sermon and Buddha’s deathplace. Because I have broken the old belief that told “the Buddha was born in Nepal,attained enlightenment in India,taught the first sermon in India and dead in India”.I have strong reason to support my synopsis,when I discover “who have announced such the old belief”. About 150 years ago,Sir Alexander Cunningham (British Engineer) have excavated an archaeological sites in India to seek for ancient ruins related to Buddha from the journal’s Chinesse prilgrim.

    Finally he and assistant have found Buddha’s image underearth and suddenly announced that the Buddha’s deathplace locate at that site.After that, in 1895 Dr. Furhler (an Germany archaeologist) have excavated an archaeological site in Nepal and discovered the stone pillar. He have claimed that stone pillar were the Asoka’s stone pillar, and read the text on pillar that “ This place is Buddha’s birthplace and King Asoka have visit here,established this stone pillar for memorial” . Thereafter, the belief that Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal and Buddha’s deathplace in India have worldwide spread upon now.What is the strong reason to break an old belief. The four comments that I have found,called “The Confusing Evidences” were

    (1) King Asoka who have established stone pillar at Lumminde in Nepal is not the same King Asoka who have established the third rectify of Tripitaka at Asokaram Mahavihan in Patalibutra.

    (2) The distance between city to city and important place in India-Nepal have conflicted to distance that specified in Tripitaka and explanation.

    (3) The cites of many important state in India have seriously conflicted to record in Tripitaka such as Kosala,Kapillapasdu and Gassamira-Kandhara that in Tripitaka said nearby ocean but in India far and far.

    (4) The cites of many important state in India have seriously conflicted to record in the travels of FA-HIAN,the Chinese pilgrim who came from China to Jumbhu dipa in 400 AD ( about 942 BE).

    But now, I have already located the site of city and important place that accorded to distance in Tripitaka and explanation. When I were traveled to those location except in Myanmar, I have seen any ancient ruins among 2,500-3,000 years old to support my hypothesis.Let me conclude the site of Buddha’s important place such as

    (1) The Buddha’s birthplace called “Lumpinivana” located at LUNBINI GARDEN in PA-AN Town in Kayin state Myanmar.

    (2) The Buddha’s attain enlightenment place called “Bhoddhakaya” located at Ban-Pho, Khok-Phochai district, Khon Kaen province, Thailand.

    (3) The Buddha’s first sermon place called “Eisipattanamaruekkhatha- yavana” located at Wat Prabahtnoi nearby Ban Tub-Kwaung, Kaeng-Koi district, Saraburi province, Thailand.

    (4) The Buddha’s deathplace called “Kusinaraya” located at Phrataen Dong-rung, Tha-maka district, Kanchanaburi province, Thailand.

    And in my hypothesis, about the last long life of Buddha have lived in Myanmar such as BAGO Town. Because I have located site of “Sawaddhi-the capital of Kosol Territory” at BAGO town in the southern Myanmar and the old name call PA-KHO that I think it came from Phra Khodom or Phra Khotama. Now, I will try to prepare project’s proposal to beg for some contribution. That I wish, I were received sufficient funds to earnest this research in the future.

    Believed in Buddha

    Ekkissaro Waroonsri

    September 11,2010

    e-mail add. ekkissaro@hotmail.com

    My facebook : http://www.facebook.com/Ekkissaro

    Mobile 661-702-0791

    You can read and see the picture in http://www.facebook.com/Ekkissaro#!/notes/xek-xis-ro-wrun-sri/a-new-hypothesis-about-the-sacred-places-of-the-lord-buddha/140711752639081

  2. First,I will shown example for the wrong route to go to LUMBINI in INDIA and NEPAL.That shown the inconsistent to FAHIAN’s record.

    Going on south-east from the city of Sravasti for twelve yojanas, (the travellers) came to a town named Na-pei-kea… Less than a yojana to the east from this brought them to the city of Kapilavastu… Fifty le e…ast from the city was a garden, named Lumbini… East from Buddha’s birthplace, and at a distance of five yojanas, there is a kingdom called Rama (Fahian’s record)

    But,do you know,where are Kapilvastu in Nepal when refer to Sravasti in UP?
    There are north-eastern from Sravasti,not south-eastern.

    please see the illusion picture in my facebook below…
    http://www.facebook.com/Ekkissaro#!/notes/xek-xis-ro-wrun-sri/a-new-hypothesis-about-the-sacred-places-of-the-lord-buddha/140711752639081

    What’s happen?

    Yes,you also need to find out Kapilvastu,that you really know it must use FAHIAN’s travel record to locate position of Kapilvastu.If the Kapilvastu in Nepal is right,the Sravasti in India must wrong.But if the Sravasti in India is right,Kapilvastu in Nepal must wrong.And the position of Lumbimi must be wrong,too.

    But,I need to tell you that nearby the Salaween river in Kayin State of Myanmar,there are two interesting places name “Zwegabin mount” and “Lungbini Garden”.That I believed those names are oldest before Sir Cunningham or Fuhrer have discovered both Kusia and Kapilvastu.

    So you can discover an ancient ruin under the earth all over India and Nepal.Old and older more than other ,but it located in wrong position.
    Then it will meant anything.

    There are many Buddha’s record a lot,inscript in Mon and ancient Thai alphabet that no have in India and Nepal.
    Western archaeologist have not yet read this ancient document,esspecially sir Cunningham and Fuhrer.
    They have known the date of B…uddha’s birth only in Pali canon,but ancient people in Monland and Thailand know it deeply.
    Unfortunately that the foreingner can not read those inscription.

    Sometimes we may need to let everyone Misunderstanding before.
    before. Until we have found significant evidence in Rajgir in Thailand
    Meantime we would let both India and Nepal have the debating before,when we discover significant evidence,everything will stop.
    I think so.

  3. When I have already read the above article,I have seen the mistake in locating of Ramagrama in Nepal.

    See appendix [1]. that described..[1] Also called Ramagrama, 26 kilometers east of present Lumbini Garden.

    Why I have told the mistake,because in the FAHIAN’s travel record,he wrote:

    From Buddha’s birthplace, and at a distance of five yojanas, there is a kingdom called Rama. The king of this country, having obtained one portion of the relics of Buddha’s body, returned with it and built over it a tope, named the Rama tope.

    In that record shown that the Ramagrama placed in 5 yojanas or 80 kilometers far from Lumbini,not a 26 kilometers.

    Why?

    I think,because they have not found the evidence in that position.
    And nobody can find the Ramagram in Nepal,because the Lumbibi was not in Nepal.
    The kapilvastu is sitting on Thaton and Ramagrama is sitting on Kawkarek,both in Myamar.

    • a) Now, let’s do the math. Yojan is Vedic measurement of distance. So very ancient. 01 Yojan = either ‘6-15’ kilometers or ‘4-9 miles’.Check how big difference is here. The version published here was later revised. It is like this “[21] Which is also called Ramgram in Nawalparasi district some 60 kilometers east of Lumbini”. Please go to this link and have a look: http://thehimalayanvoice.blogspot.com/2010/02/nepals-lumbini-where-buddha-was-born.html. And that is not a mistake.

      b) And 5 Yojan can’t be 80 Kilometers.

      • @Himalayan I have seen your suggested link,and I have read appendix [3] that described “Devadaha” such a word below…

        [3] Also called Ramagrama, 26 kilometers east of present Lumbini Garden.
        ……….

        …So I told ,it is mistake.Because in FAHIAN’s record Devadaha or Ramagram ,5 yojanas east of Lumbini.
        ……….

        And I have ever told you,No one will know about the land itself was who owned the land.

        Even a simple thing like a distance also.

        Measured distance of Thai and ancient Mon . To be used for many generations and long time ago are.

        25 Wah = 1 Asupha
        80 Asupha = 1 Kavut
        4 Kavut = 1 Yojana

        1 Wah = 2 Metricmetre
        So 1 Yojana = 4x80x25x2 =16,000 m or 16 Kilometres

        And ,that you refer Vedic measurement of distance such as 01 Yojan = either ’6-15′ kilometers or ’4-9 miles’ is no matter.

        I have just told you,In the past we have been deceived by outlander.

  4. Nakul said

    Europeans have to understand they’re distorting important chapters of our history and WE GET ANNOYED WITH THIS!!!!!

  5. The Himalayan Voice said

    We shall write here again that Buddha was born in Nepal’s Lumbini. Not in any other place in the world. This means not in Myanmar also.

    While talking of the Buddha and his birth place,Pali Canon can of course be discussed, we do agree with you. But we find your claim as based solely on ‘translated or later developed’ stories derived from Pali Canon, composed in North India and first written down in Sri Lanka in 29 BC.

    Let’s also discuss linguistically here. As of Pali – it is Indo-European family language – Prakrit- very closely related with Sanskrit also, believed to be Magadian or language of Magadha in modern day Bihar in India. It can not either be Thai or Myanmar or in broader sense – Mon-Khamer.

    Your name words for four Buddhist holy places, as we understand must have been ‘later development or artificial’ or in other words named in reverence towards the Buddha as those name-words are in ‘Mon-Khmer’ languages. Your own mother tongue ‘Thai’ is one of the Mon-Khmer group of languages.

    You also discuss of Fahian’s travel story. There is one article here: http://thehimalayanvoice.blogspot.com/2010/03/travels-of-fa-hien.html which shall give you enough ideas on it. And for more you would check this link http://thehimalayanvoice.blogspot.com/2010/03/kapilavatthu-in-pali-canon.html also.
    We would suggest to check this article to read the different travel account of Fah Hien and Huen Tsang.

    And, both Myanmar and Thailand do not have epigraphic evidence, such as Lumbini Pillar inscription, historical references, archaeological evidence, circumstantial evidence, geographical evidence to support your claim. And please be advised that the
    And

  6. The Himalayan Voice said

    We shall write here again that Buddha was born in Nepal’s Lumbini. Not in any other place in the world. This means not in Myanmar also.

    While talking of the Buddha and his birth place,Pali Canon can of course be discussed – we do agree with you. But we find your claim as based solely on ‘translated or later developed’ stories derived from Pali Canon, composed in North India and first written down in Sri Lanka in 29 BC.

    Let’s also discuss linguistically here. As of Pali – it is Indo-European family language – Prakrit- very closely related with Sanskrit also, believed to be Magadian or language of Magadha in modern day Bihar in India. It can not either be Thai or Myanmar or in broader sense – Mon-Khamer. So any later name-words or stories in other languages including Thai or in any Mon-Khamer languages relating to the Buddha and the four Buddhist holiest places are later development, later creation in reverence to the Buddha.

    This means, as we wrote above, your name words for four Buddhist holy places, as we understand must have been ‘later development or artificial’ or in other words named in reverence towards the Buddha as those name-words are in ‘Mon-Khmer’ languages. Your own mother tongue ‘Thai’ is one of the Mon-Khmer group of languages.

    You also discuss of Fahian’s travel story. There is one article here: http://thehimalayanvoice.blogspot.com/2010/03/travels-of-fa-hien.html which shall give some enough idea on the traveller. And for more you would check this link http://thehimalayanvoice.blogspot.com/2010/03/kapilavatthu-in-pali-canon.html also.

    We would suggest you to check this article to read the different travel accounts of Fah Hien and Huen Tsang.

    And, both Myanmar and Thailand do not have epigraphic evidence, such as Lumbini Pillar inscription, historical references, archaeological evidence, circumstantial evidence, geographical evidence to support your claim. And please be advised that our post of May 8, 2010 ‘BRING ON ANY EVIDENCE YOU HAVE TO DISCREDIT LUMBINI ASHOKAN INSCRIPTION’ http://thehimalayanvoice.blogspot.com/2010/05/bring-on-any-evidence-you-have-to.html was not meant to you only in fact. It was meant to all the researchers and scholars around the world who believe otherwise regarding the Buddha birth place.
    Enough said here, sorry we have hurt your feelings. And no time to further discussion. We apologize.
    Thank you.

  7. The Himalayan Voice said

    We shall write here again that Buddha was born in Nepal’s Lumbini. Not in any other place in the world. This means not in Myanmar also.

    While talking of the Buddha and his birth place,Pali Canon can of course be discussed – we do agree with you. But we find your claim as based solely on ‘translated or later developed’ stories derived from Pali Canon, composed in North India and first written down in Sri Lanka in 29 BC.

    Let’s also discuss linguistically here. As of Pali – it is Indo-European family language – Prakrit- very closely related with Sanskrit also, believed to be Magadian or language of Magadha in modern day Bihar in India. It can not either be Thai or Myanmar or in broader sense – Mon-Khamer. So any later name-words or stories in other languages including Thai or in any Mon-Khamer languages relating to the Buddha and the four Buddhist holiest places are later development, later creation in reverence to the Buddha.

    This means, as we wrote above, your name words for four Buddhist holy places, as we understand must have been ‘later development or artificial’ or in other words named in reverence towards the Buddha as those name-words are in ‘Mon-Khmer’ languages. Your own mother tongue ‘Thai’ is one of the Mon-Khmer group of languages.

    You also discuss of Fahian’s travel story. There is one article here: http://thehimalayanvoice.blogspot.com/2010/03/travels-of-fa-hien.html which shall give some enough idea on the traveller. And for more you would check this link http://thehimalayanvoice.blogspot.com/2010/03/kapilavatthu-in-pali-canon.html also.

    We would suggest you to check this article to read the different travel accounts of Fah Hien and Huen Tsang.

    And, both Myanmar and Thailand do not have epigraphic evidence, such as Lumbini Pillar inscription, historical references, archaeological evidence, circumstantial evidence, geographical evidence to support your claim. And please be advised that our post of May 8, 2010 ‘BRING ON ANY EVIDENCE YOU HAVE TO DISCREDIT LUMBINI ASHOKAN INSCRIPTION’ http://thehimalayanvoice.blogspot.com/2010/05/bring-on-any-evidence-you-have-to.html was not meant to you only in fact. It was meant to all the researchers and scholars around the world who believe otherwise regarding the Buddha birth place.
    Enough said here, sorry if we have hurt your feelings. And no time to further discussion. We apologize.
    Thank you.

  8. I shall tell you here again that in the past we have been deceived by outlander not Buddhist.

    I shal tell you here again that no one will know about the land itself was who owned the land.

    I shall tell you here again that you must be open your mind and make strong consider,you must see the truth.

    I shall tell you that no pillar only one piece that inscribed the name of “Ashoka”. They meant European arhaeologist have assume that “Devanampiyatassi” meant “King Ashoka”

    I shall tell you here again that Sometimes we may need to let everyone misunderstanding before.Until we have found significant evidence in Rajgir in Thailand .Meantime we would let both India and Nepal have the arguing before,when we discover significant evidence,everything will stop.I think so.Don’t worry.

    Unfortunately that you can not read Thai words and understand Thai language. Such as below…

    คุณก็เหมือนคนไทยจำนวนมาก ที่เชื่อว่า สิ่งทั้งหลายเกิดอยู่ที่อินเดีย เนปาลนั่นหล่ะ จึงไม่เปิดใจรับความรู้ใหม่ๆ คุณคงไม่รู้หรอกว่า ภาษาไทยที่ใช้ทุกวันนี้ มีบาลีปนอยู่กี่มากน้อย เพราะคุณอ่านภาษาไทยไม่ได้ แล้วก็คงไม่มีเพื่อนเป็นคนไทยเลย จึงไม่รู้จักภาษาไทย

    มีคำโบราณไทยว่า “ทัพพีไม่รู้รสแกง” แต่คุณไม่มีโอกาสแม้แต่เป็นทัพพีที่จะได้ตักแกง คุณรู้มั๊ยครับว่า คำว่า “ทัพพี” ไม่ใช่คำไทยเดิม แต่เป็นคำที่มาจาก ภาษาบาลี แล้วที่เนปาลหรืออินเดีย ยังเรียก “ทัพพี ว่า ทัพพี” มั๊ย?

    เมื่อเป็นดังนี้ ผมเองก็ไม่เห็นประโยชน์อันใดที่จะสนทนากับท่านต่อ คงต้องปล่อยให้ลอยคออยู่ในมหาสมุทรแห่งความหลงไหลต่อไป เพราะจัดเป้น บุคคลจำพวก “ปทปรมบุคคล” เปรียบเสมือนดอกบัวที่จมอยู่กับโคลนตม ยังแต่จะตกเป็นอาหารของเต่าปลา ไม่มีโอกาสโผล่ขึ้นพ้นน้ำเพื่อเบ่งบาน พระพุทธองค์ตรัสว่า “ทรงชักสะพานทิ้งเสีย”

    So I wiil borrow your word to tell to you similar,too. Which as…

    “Enough said to you but I will still daid here, sorry if I have hurt your feelings. And no time to further discussion if tou still close your mind and tighten to accept new knowledge . I apologize.

  9. subhashinie kumari said

    By end of 2012 you will find where was lord buddha born and lived in either india, nepal or some where else. There are thousands of stone and rock inscriptions in sri lanka relating to Lord Buddha’s birth place, where he enlightened and many other incidents pertaning to his life, According to carbon tests most of them were written during the period of lord buddha. It means 2500 years back Neither India nor Nepal has such massive amount of rock or stone inscriptions relating to lord buddha. Borth the countries have few inscriptions regarding buddha. You are all well come to sri lanka to read these stone/ rock inscriptions, Any archeologist who is honestly interested is well come to read these and find out exactly where lord boddha was born and lived.

  10. subhashinie kumari said

    Sri lankan inscriptions are all written in ancient magadhi language. The language lord buddha used to preach his teachings. Anybody who can read ancient magadhi language are all well comed

    • The text in Lumbini pillar is in two different scripts : Brahmi and Kharosti (just one word Kharosti). It would be better to say two different languages used: Pali and Sanskrit. Pali was people’s language then and people in Magadh spoke Pali,didn’t they?

  11. subhashinie kumari said

    Dear friends dewanampiyatassa is a famous sri lankan king; Ekkissarro is correct he is not king asoka

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