Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Blog

Welcome to Lumbini, Nepal – the birthplace of Buddha

WRONG INFORMATION ON THE BUDDHA BIRTHPLACE IN U.S. SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS & REFERENCE BOOKS ALSO

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 22, 2011

[We are trying to find the best way to bring this to the notice of proper educational authorities who make decisions on textbooks and curriculum. This approach perhaps shall be more productive than locating and writing to every publisher who may have wrong information in their books. But, we are unaware at this point who in the US decides the curriculum/textbooks for K to 12 grades. Is it individual school boards, counties, state or the federal government? If your team happens to know this or any other advice or guidance to lead us to the right direction, we shall very much appreciate the help.]

By B. K. Rana 
Dear Sharmaji,

Many thanks for your concern over the birthplace of the Buddha and the interest you have shown in the ‘on-going discussion’ on Lumbini and Kapilvastu also. If you ask us – we would say straight – we personally have no problem at all whether the Buddha was born here in Nepal or there in India – as he happens to be a universal figure of reverence and worship also belonging to the humanity of all times.

As scholars differ and have therefore offered differing opinions on the birthplace, Lumbini and Kapilvastu also, those opinions do not bother us at all. We are only concerned – why such a controversy for so long almost 100 years and why no consensus on the issue until today? Some scholars have wearily concluded that debating the Buddha birth place – Lumbini and Kapilvastu is ‘waste of time’ and it is a matter to be settled in between Tourism Ministries of Nepal and India!  

As concerns the Buddha in text books or curriculum in the US schools you have outlined below; we now recall the California Text Book Controversy Over Hindu History that started in the fall of 2005. It grew more intense, the National Public Radio(NPR) aired a live debate on March 1, 2006 in between Shiva Bajpai, Professor Emeritus of History at California State University in Northridge and  Michael Witzel, Wales Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University (See : NPR On Point programme on Texas Textbook also). The case later reached to the California Federal Court. The court dismissed the case on June 2, 2009, with prejudice, meaning it cannot be raised again.
The textbook issue on the Buddha birth place is not in the US only. It is still there in Nepal also. It is prevalent everywhere around the world.  As a Nepalese, we have failed to properly inform the world that Buddha was born in Nepal’s Lumbini. We have not discussed the Lumbini Ashokan Inscription as widely as possible among scholars and we have not yet shown the half-dug, half underground Lumbini Ashokan Pillar photo posted in Vincent A. Smith’s book to the world – at least to those who think the pillar is transported from somewhere else or the script is a Fhurer forged product !
But still we may keep in touch with the State Department of Education (SDE) or State Board of Education (SBE) and ask them if they can do something about it.
Sincerely yours,
The Himalayan Voice Team
Cambridge, Massachusetts
United States of America
http://www.thehimalayanvoice.blogspot.com/
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Vijaya Sharma
Date: Mon, May 10, 2010 at 2:14 PM
Subject: Wrong information on the Buddha’s birthplace in U.S. school textbooks/reference books
To: himalayanvoice@gmail.com
Dear Himalayan Voice Team:
We very much appreciate the academic and professional rigor that you bring to fighting for truth about the Buddha’s birthplace. Some of us – Nepali nonresidents – living in Colorado have noticed that kids in US schools learn that “Buddha was an Indian prince” or he was born in India or similar factually wrong information.
We are trying to find the best way to bring this to the notice of proper educational authorities who make decisions on textbooks and curriculum. This approach perhaps shall be more productive than locating and writing to every publisher who may have wrong information in their books. But, we are unaware at this point who in the US decides the curriculum/textbooks for K to 12 grades. Is it individual school boards, counties, state or the federal government? If your team happens to know this or any other advice or guidance to lead us to the right direction, we shall very much appreciate the help.
Hoping to hear from you.
Appreciating your team’s efforts,
Denver, Colorado, USA.
@The Himalayan Voice

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