Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Blog

Welcome to Lumbini, Nepal – the birthplace of Buddha

Posts Tagged ‘Buddhism’

Lumbini, Birthplace of Lord Buddha

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 18, 2012

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Western Buddhism: The 50 Year Lessons (Part II)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 1, 2012

By Lewis Richmond, Buddhist writer and teacher

A few weeks ago I began a series of posts called “Western Buddhism: The 50 Year Lessons.” In that post I mentioned three lessons: enlightenment is not what we thought, meditation is not good for everything and religious corruption is universal. Outside of ethnic enclaves, Buddhism is really quite new in the West. Even the word “Buddhism” itself — a term coined by 19th century European scholars to categorize it as a world religion along with other “isms” — is not quite right. There is no such word “Buddhism” in Buddhism. The Buddha himself used the word marga, which simply means “path.” Buddhism is a wisdom path, a long, difficult, and complex journey. It takes time and effort, and mistakes are part of it.

I would like to continue my exploration of 50 year lessons with two more: Prejudice Against Women Runs Deep, and Conflict is Part of the Path.

Prejudice Against Women Runs Deep.

Buddhism began in Northern India in the 5th century B.C., in a caste-ridden, conquistador society where women were ranked below men in nearly all things. According to scripture, the Buddha did not initially want women in his monastic order, and it was only through the pleading of his disciple Ananda, speaking on behalf of Prajapati — a leading woman disciple and the Buddha’s biological aunt — that the Buddha reluctantly agreed. Since Buddhist scriptures were not committed to writing until several centuries later, we don’t know whether this incident was literally true, but it was certainly culturally normative for that time. That bias against women has remained operative in Buddhist countries to this day. The young Karmapa — reported to me by people who were there — said recently in a public gathering that the prejudice against women in Buddhism was simply wrong and should be changed. After 2,500 years, that’s good to hear. Correcting that “mistake” is probably easier said than done, however. Read the rest of this entry »

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Beyond the Matrix — A Buddhist Approach

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 3, 2012

By John Stanley and David Loy

“To be, or not to be: that is the question.”
–Hamlet

“Psychopaths are capable of taking the perspective of somebody else, but only to take better advantage of you. They’re able to play the empathy game, but without the feelings involved. It’s like an empty shell. The core of empathy — being in tune with the feelings of somebody else — seems to be completely lacking. They are like aliens among us.”
–Frans de Waal

The Believing Brain

The human brain often functions as a “believing organ.” Our beliefs develop for many different subjective and psychological reasons, and according to various contexts (family, relationships, culture, media, advertising). There is evidence that many beliefs are largely subconscious in nature. That does not stop us inventing conscious explanations for them. We rationalize, defend and fight for our beliefs — often as if our identity depended upon it. And often it does.

If some new reality challenges our mental map, our understanding of it will usually be limited by our old beliefs. Evidently human ideologies provided some evolutionary advantage in the past. But the enormous evolutionary crisis we are now facing requires rapid creative adaptation to unprecedented realities. The believing organ is being challenged as never before.

Democracy or Corporatocracy?

At the outset of the 21st century, the dominant institution is not government but business corporations, which have learned how to manipulate the democratic process. These legal entities have an insatiable appetite for profit and work to undermine any limitations on their power to pursue it. A prime example was the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to permit unlimited corporate cash donations to political campaigns. Big Carbon companies responded to this new legalization of corruption by financing lavish advertising to capture a majority in the House of Representatives. Defying the unprecedented frequency of extreme weather events occurring worldwide — including a record 12 events imposing aggregate damages of $52 billion on the U.S. itself — their “representatives” blocked any attempts to address the climate crisis. They attacked environmental regulations across the board and cut the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (which they also threatened to abolish). They organized witch-hunts of eminent climate scientists, reminiscent of the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s. Read the rest of this entry »

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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. Read the rest of this entry »

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लुम्बिनी-कपिलवस्तु दिवस अभियानको अभिनन्दनले प्रचन्डलाई जिम्मेवारी थपिएको महसूस

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 2, 2011

काठमाडौं, मङ्सिर १५- एकीकृत माओवादीका अध्यक्ष पुष्पकमल दाहालले नेपालको शान्ति प्रकृया मौलिक ढङ्गले अगाडि बढेको चर्चा गर्दै २१औं शताब्दीमा संविधान सभाबाटै संविधान बनाउने पहिलो देश नेपाल हुने बताएका छन्। लुम्बिनी-कपिलवस्तु दिवस अभियानद्वारा आयोजित बिहीबार तेश्रो लुम्बिनी-कपिलवस्तु दिवस कार्यक्रममा प्रमुख अतिथिको आसनबाट उनले सबै विचार, राजनीतिक दल, सम्पूर्ण धर्मावलम्बी, बुद्धिजीवीलाई एकताको सन्देशसहित शान्ति र समृद्धिको मार्गमा अगाडि बढ्न आह्‍वान गरे।
प्रेमराजा महत अभियानको सांस्कृतिक दूतको प्रमाणपत्र ग्रहण गर्दै
बृहत्तर लुम्बिनी क्षेत्र विकास निर्देशक समितिका अध्यक्षसमेत रहनुभएका अध्यक्ष दाहालले लुम्बिनी विकासको गुरुयोजनाको जुन प्रयत्न भएको छ, त्यो आफैंमा नेपाल र नेपालीका निम्ति केही गर्ने उद्धेस्यसंग जोडिएको छ भने।
लुम्बिनी क्षेत्रको बृहत्तर विकासका लागि संयुक्त राष्ट्र सङ्घका महासचिव वानकी मुनलाई भेटेर विश्वव्यापीरुपमा सो अभियानलाई अगाडि लैजान सकारात्मक र उत्साहप्रद ढङ्गले कुराकानी भएको उल्लेख गर्दै अध्यक्ष दाहालले उहाँ छिट्टै नेपाल आउने कार्यक्रम रहेकाले पनि यसको महत्व विश्वव्यापीरुपमा स्थापित भएको बताए। शान्ति प्रकृयालाई तार्किक निष्कर्षमा पुर्‍याउन शान्ति प्रक्रियाकै प्रमुख पक्ष भएको नाताले आफ्नो पार्टी हदैसम्मको त्याग गर्न तयार रहेको उनले बताए।
लुम्बिनी-कपिलवस्तु दिवस अभियानको तर्फबाट गरिएको अभिन्दनको सन्दर्भमा अध्यक्ष दाहालले सम्मान आफूलाई गरिएको सम्मानभन्दा पनि नेपाली जनताको शान्तिको चाहना, गौतम बुद्धको शान्तिको सन्देश बिस्वभरि छर्ने र आँफैलाई भन्दा एउटा नयाँ भारी बोकाएको सन्देशको रुपमा बुझेको बताउनु भयो ।  Read the rest of this entry »

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बुद्ध जन्मस्थलबारे दिग्भ्रम निस्तेज पार्न स्वाभिमानको नयाँ ईतिहास आरम्भ गरौं

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 27, 2011

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China’s $3 Billion Investment in Buddhist Mecca Sparks a Row

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 21, 2011

By Jane Poretsis

On the 9th August, China declared that it had just signed a USD 3 billion deal with Nepal to develop Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha, sparking a row of lack of transparency.

The investment will see China leading the project, to transform the small town of Lumbini into a Buddhist Mecca and place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from around the world. A huge building project situated in the Southern region adjoining India. Seeing the construction of a new airport, highway, hotels, convention centre, temples and a Buddhist university; plus, the water, electricity and communication lines it currently lacks.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, in July, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Hong Kong based – Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (APECF), signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) in Beijing.

This was met by concern in certain quarters of the Nepalese Government, which felt that it had been left in the dark and not consulted; prompting a dismissal from China on reports in the media of a secret pact with certain Maoist sections of the Government. Read the rest of this entry »

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What do you think about $3b Lumbini Project? What could be your suggestion on this project?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 3, 2011

This discussion question was raised in Nepal Development Forum and the full discussion is posted here for readers’ information.

What do you think about 3 billion dollar Lumbini Project? What could be your suggestion on this project?

If you are not aware about this project visit:http://ramkshrestha.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/what-happened-to-the-dream-of-a-buddhist-mecca/ and http://ramkshrestha.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/the-lumbini-project-chinas-3-billion-for-buddhism/ and also available in http://completenepal.wordpress.com/ andhttps://worldamity.wordpress.com/

3 months ago

Govinda ThapaBhavana Rana and 3 others like this

35 comments

Govinda ThapaBhavana Rana and 3 others like this

35 comments

Pramod Shrestha • This amount should be considered as a big opportunity . First of all, there is no doubt, we will be utilized in developing infrastructures, hospitality. International Airprt, high class hotel and services will be among them. Everyone knows the concept is to develop Lumbini as a buddhist pilgrim city with all modern facilities for guest. We should be a

3 months ago• Like

Ramesh Chandra Adhikari • Very exciting and necessary project to enhance our tourism business.

There will be so many obstacles in implementation. By the result we wont get outcome within time frame and with good quality. If any project does not complete with designed quality within desired time frame that project will not be considered as successful project.There may arise vested interests from different groups like local community, political parties and so many others in extended time. So if the project starts we may need to spend some time to be as watch dog for constructing agency and aware local community not to obstacle the project.As we are aware that these days most of our big projects have been affected mostly by local communities and groups.To discourage them our input may be needed.I think in this context we can contribute something from our side.

3 months ago• Like
Ram Kumar  Shrestha

Ram Kumar Shrestha • This is the comment from Kapilvastu Day Movement blog ( link:https://worldamity.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/another-chinese-foundation-plans-to-raise-3b-to-make-lumbini-magnet-for-buddhists/#comment-968) for you kind information: Suman said

June 25, 2011 at 10:22 am
…. …..$3b project in Nepal…..it is a huge amount…..fast trains and Buddhist’s main holy place……oh! Tourism ….development….
This is called a DEAL…..!!!! thanks to every body who made such big effort……
$3B is a huge amount…..i am working in $3b project……making new city project…..so I know how big this amount is……..all Nepalese will know…..power of money and instant change….
Hope we can make WORLD’s BEST tourist place on earth…..we need more such big projects……in the future…..

3 months ago

Govinda Thapa • I am extremely positive towards this proposal. Neither we nor any other friendly country or international agency could do it more than last half century. China has been providing billions of dollar to Africa and other countries. China on the otherhand has not any territorial interest in Nepal. While India does not hesitate to claim Lumbini of its own and in fact it has been doing so also. Therefore, if China comes forward to develop Lumbini as a modern Buddhist hub like Mecca Madina for muslims and Vetican for christians, we should welcome it without any hitch.

3 months ago• Like
Ram Kumar  Shrestha

Ram Kumar Shrestha • Yes Govindajee, India faking Lumbini and if you have not gone through this clip pls have a look: https://worldamity.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/duplicate-kapilvastu2/ Government is responsible to deal with this issue, but government is not serious with its duties and, hence, Kapilvastu Day Movement was started. Even after submitting letter to the Prime Minister (https://worldamity.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/petition-to-p/) government doing nothing. May be soon the Movement will submit another letter to the government. This $3b project is, therefore, very important to catalyze dismissing the misinformation created by India.

3 months ago

Rajendra UPRETI • Yes, India is faking Lumbini, people living in the boarder area are suffering; as Chadkya says ‘your neighbour is your enemy but your neighbour neighbour is your friend’ ; We are under such situation due to our poor political mechanism that India can say anything..!! regarding the project in Lumbini.. Look at Pashupati Nath Area Development Fund; amount of money and amount of work; Everyone is corrupted in this country.. and Lumbini with this fund makes another example.. and I reckon that one day; India will come up with such Evidence that prove Buddha was born there because of our carelessness then we have lost a lot especially while Department of Archaeology was sleeping and rich countries know the value. No one has seen the history but the evidence prove and we are so incompetent to preserve anything that we have.

3 months ago• Like
Ram Kumar  Shrestha

Ram Kumar Shrestha • Friends who are not aware about Kapilvastu Day Movement these links could be beneficial (specially first two as they have lots of relevant links):
https://worldamity.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/kdm/http://ramkshrestha.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/buddha-lumbini-and-fake-lumbini/http://completenepal.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/bfbs-mulbato/

3 months ago

Govinda Thapa • In this case GON will not be the implementing agency. China will not give the money to the hand of Nepalese authorities. They are very clear on the fact that Nepalese may misuse the fund. So they themselves will develop the area by using their own money. So there is no chance of misuse of money by Nepalis. But the problem is that India will create problem in one way or the other to prevent this project from being materialized. They will even try their best to topple this government, which is positive to this project and place the government that serves Indian interests. Media is reporting that India has already raised its eyebrow about this project. Be sure that India will not remain quiet without disturbing it. They will not allow China to come closer to the Border.

3 months ago• Like

Sita Bhandari • Amicable step from china…Definitely, will open up huge tourism avenue in Nepal as an attractive tourist destination …though the project may have some complications but will be a landmark for the prosperity of Nepal on its completion..May be wise if we plan proactively for other opportunity we can trap therein… Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddhism Project

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 19, 2011

[This project was done by a thirteen years girl Pallabi Shakya and we encourage kids to send this kind of work. ]

By Pallabi Shakya
Highworth Grammar School Ashford, Kent, UK

 Introduction/Contents

Many of us know about Buddha and how he was the enlightened one. But, do any of us know what enlightened means and how he became enlightened?

Throughout this project I will be covering:

  • What is Buddhism?

                 The Three Jewels

                   The Four Noble Truths

                   The Wheel of Life

  • Important Places for Buddhists

                   Lumbini Threats

 What is Buddhism?

 Buddhism has around 350 million followers worldwide. With approximately 150,000 active Buddhists in the UK. This number is increasing all the time.

Buddhism began in north-eastern India and is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Buddha. The religion is 2,500 years old. Many Asian countries have Buddhism as one of their main religions. Buddhism is a religion about suffering and the need to get rid of. Nirvana is a key concept of Buddhism and Nirvana means, the most enlightened, and blissful state that one can achieve. It is a state without suffering.

Unlike many other religions, Buddhism is not centred on the relationship between humanity and God. Buddhists don’t believe in a personal creator or God. The Buddhist tradition is founded on and inspired by the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. He was called the Buddha and lived in the 4th or 5th century B.C. in India.

Siddhartha Gautama also known as Buddha was born in the village of Lumbini, in Nepal, around the year 580 BCE. He was born into a royal family and for many years lived within the palace walls away from the sufferings of life; sufferings such as sickness, age, and death. He did not know what these were. One day, after growing-up, marrying and having a child, Siddhartha went outside the royal palace and saw, each for the first time, an old man, a sick man, and a corpse. He was worried by what he saw. He learned that sickness, age, and death were the inevitable fate of human beings. This was a fate no-one could avoid. Siddhartha also had seen a monk when he went outside the royal palace and this was when he decided that this was a sign that he should leave his protected royal life and live as a homeless holy man.  Siddhartha Gautama’s travels showed him much more of the sufferings of the world. He searched for a way to escape the inevitability of death, old age and pain first by studying with religious men. This didn’t provide him with an answer. Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddhist View on Death and Rebirth by Venerable Thich Nguyen Tang

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 25, 2011

Buddhist View on Death and Rebirth
By Venerable Thich Nguyen Tang As a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, working as a Buddhist chaplain at several of Melbourne’s hospitals and as well as Melbourne assessment prison, I have witnessed many personal tragedies faced by the living and of course the very process of dying and that of death and many of these poor people faced their death with fear, with misery and pain before departing this world.  With the images of all these in my mind, on this occasion, I wish to share my view from the perspective of a Buddhist and we hope that people would feel far more relaxed in facing this inevitable end since it is really “not the end of life”, according to our belief.

Death and the impermanence of life

In the teaching of the Buddha, all of us will pass away eventually as a part in the natural process of birth, old-age and death and that we should always keep in mind the impermanence of life.  The life that we all cherish and wish to hold on.

To Buddhism, however, death is not the end of life, it is merely the end of the body we inhabit in this life, but our spirit will still remain and seek out through the need of attachment, attachment to a new body and new life. Where they will be born is a result of the past and the accumulation of positive and negative action, and the resultant karma (cause and effect) is a result of ones past actions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddha: How to Tame Your Monkey Mind

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 4, 2011

By B J Gallagher, Sociologist, best-selling author and popular speaker.

The Buddha was the smartest psychologist I’ve ever read. More than 2,500 years ago he was teaching people about the human mind so that they might understand themselves better and discover that there was a way out of suffering. Buddha wasn’t a god or a messiah — he was simply a very wise teacher with keen insights into human nature. He learned much by meditating and learning from his own experiences, as well as by observing the behavior of others.

Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly. We all have monkey minds, Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for attention. Fear is an especially loud monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong.

Buddha showed his students how to meditate in order to tame the drunken monkeys in their minds. It’s useless to fight with the monkeys or to try to banish them from your mind because, as we all know, that which you resist persists. Instead, Buddha said, if you will spend some time each day in quiet meditation — simply calm your mind by focusing on your breathing or a simple mantra — you can, over time, tame the monkeys. They will grow more peaceful if you lovingly bring them into submission with a consistent practice of meditation.

I’ve found that the Buddha was right. Meditation is a wonderful way to quiet the voices of fear, anxiety, worry and other negative emotions.

I’ve also found that engaging the monkeys in gentle conversation can sometimes calm them down. I’ll give you an example: Fear seems to be an especially noisy monkey for people like me who own their own business. As the years go by, Fear Monkey shows up less often, but when he does, he’s always very intense. So I take a little time out to talk to him. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why the Buddha Touched the Earth

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 23, 2011

By John Stanley and David Loy

“The entire cosmos is a cooperative. The sun, the moon, and the stars live together as a cooperative. The same is true for humans and animals, trees, and the Earth. When we realize that the world is a mutual, interdependent, cooperative enterprise — then we can build a noble environment. If our lives are not based on this truth, then we shall perish.” –Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

“The term ‘engaged Buddhism’ was created to restore the true meaning of Buddhism. Engaged Buddhism is simply Buddhism applied in our daily lives. If it’s not engaged, it can’t be called Buddhism. Buddhist practice takes place not only in monasteries, meditation halls and Buddhist institutes, but in whatever situation we find ourselves. Engaged Buddhism means the activities of daily life combined with the practice of mindfulness. –Thich Nhat Hanh

In one of Buddhism’s iconic images, Gautama Buddha sits in meditation with his left palm upright on his lap, while his right hand touches the earth. Demonic forces have tried to unseat him, because their king, Mara, claims that place under the bodhi tree. As they proclaim their leader’s powers, Mara demands that Gautama produce a witness to confirm his spiritual awakening. The Buddha simply touches the earth with his right hand, and the Earth itself immediately responds: “I am your witness.” Mara and his minions vanish. The morning star appears in the sky. This moment of supreme enlightenment is the central experience from which the whole of the Buddhist tradition unfolds.

The great 20th-century Vedantin, Ramana Maharshi said that the Earth is in a constant state ofdhyana. The Buddha’s earth-witness mudra (hand position) is a beautiful example of “embodied cognition.” His posture and gesture embody unshakeable self-realization. He does not ask heavenly beings for assistance. Instead, without using any words, the Buddha calls on the Earth to bear witness.

The Earth has observed much more than the Buddha’s awakening. For the last 3 billion years the Earth has borne witness to the evolution of its innumerable life-forms, from unicellular creatures to the extraordinary diversity and complexity of plant and animal life that flourishes today. We not only observe this multiplicity, we are part of it — even as our species continues to damage it. Many biologists predict that half the Earth’s plant and animal species could disappear by the end of this century, on the current growth trajectories of human population, economy and pollution. This sobering fact reminds us that global warming is the primary, but not the only, extraordinary ecological crisis confronting us today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nepal’s “Singing Nun” International Hit

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 6, 2011

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What happened to the dream of a Buddhist Mecca?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 21, 2011

By Sanjaya Dhakal

In the hot, dusty plains of south-western Nepal sits Lumbini, one of the holiest places for about 350 million Buddhists

Some monasteries have been built at Lumbini - but the master plan for its development remain incomplete

around the world.

Centuries ago a baby was born in Lumbini who went on to become the Buddha and many have long cherished plans that Lumbini could be developed into a Buddhist destination, comparable to Mecca, Islam’s holiest site.

But now buildings sit half-finished and empty fields lie neglected. More than a decade after Unesco designated it a World Heritage Site, Lumbini runs the risk of slipping into obscurity and promises to transform the site remain unfulfilled.

The most recent announcement was made by a Chinese group called the Asia Pacific Exchange and Co-operation Foundation, which declared it would raise $3bn (£1.9bn) to develop Lumbini by constructing airports, highways and hotels.

Continue reading the main story

LUMBINI

  • Located in the south-western Nepali plains 300km from Kathmandu and very close to India’s border
  • Birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, probably around 566BCE, who later become the Buddha
  • Designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1997
  • Surrounded by large zone in which only monasteries can be built and no commercial premises
  • The site has a number of ancient ruins of monasteries, a sacred Bo Tree and a bathing pool – more is yet to be excavated

But both the Nepalese or Chinese government authorities claim to be in the dark about the grandiose scheme. The group insists that it is preparing a five-year plan to implement their idea of “developing Lumbini like a Mecca city”.

Yet it is unclear what stage the proposals are at and whether they will truly see the light of day.

Another Chinese organisation has proposed building a 100-metre-tall statue of the Buddha in Lumbini at a cost of more than $55m (£35m). The Nepal government has accepted this proposal but the groundwork is yet to begin. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Lumbini project: China’s $3 billion for Buddhism

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 16, 2011

By Melissa Chan

The town of Lumbini in Nepal is where the Buddha was born as Prince Gautama Siddhartha, before achieving

”]enlightenment more than 2,500 years ago. Now China is leading a project worth $3bn to transform the small town into the premier place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from around the world.  Little Lumbini will have an airport, highway, hotels, convention centre, temples and a Buddhist university. That’s in addition to the installation of water, electricity and communication lines it currently lacks.

That’s a lot of money anywhere – but especially for a country like Nepal whose GDP was $35bn last year. That means the project is worth almost 10 per cent of the country’s GDP. So what does China want back?

The organization behind the project is called the Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (APECF), a quasi-governmental non-governmental organisation. Its executive vice president, Xiao Wunan, is a member of the Communist Party and holds a position at the National Development and Reform Commission, a state agency.

On Friday, APECF held a signing ceremony for the project with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Read the rest of this entry »

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First Buddha Film from Nepal to Pre-empt Bollywood Challenges

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 10, 2011

By Sudeshna Sarkar

Kathmandu, July 9 (IANS) Alarmed by Bollywood training its lenses on the Buddha, an Indian film director of Nepali origin is now making the first Buddha film from the Himalayan republic to bolster its claim to the founder of Buddhism.

Tulsi Ghimire, who moved from India’s hill town of Kalimpong to Mumbai first to learn acting and film-making and then made Kathmandu his home, has begun making “Gautam Buddha”, the first Buddha film from Nepal, the birthplace of the apostle of peace.

The 60-year-old, who gave the Nepali film industry such hits as “Kusume rumal” and “Balidaan”, says he was inspired to make the film after a conversation with Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka and other places.

“First, there was this Bollywood movie, ‘Chandni Chowk to China’, that claimed the Buddha was born in Nepal,” Ghimire told IANS in an interview. “Then there are reports of renowned Bollywood director Ashutosh Gowarikar making an epic film on the Buddha.

“We are concerned whether there isn’t some political motivation – to lay claim to the Buddha. If Gowarikar builds the sets of Kapilavastu, the kingdom in which the Buddha was born to its ruler King Shuddhodan, the Indian state where it is erected may be regarded by many people as the birthplace of the Buddha.

“Some puzzled Sri Lankan monks actually asked me whether the Buddha was born in India or Nepal. I told them, he was born in Kapilavastu, when neither India nor Nepal existed. Archaeological ruins prove Kapilavastu was in southern Nepal. You can still see the remains of the old palace and the garden where the Buddha was born.”

“Gautam Buddha”, to be dubbed in English, Hindi, Sinhalese, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and German, is going to be an animated film and the first animated feature film from Nepal.

“It would have cost far less had I chosen people to play the roles,” he says ruefully. “But I found that impossible. The Buddha literature available details minutely the 32 auspicious signs Prince Siddharth possessed, that made him a king among men. He had arms that reached his knees, the large kindly eyes of a cow, and a voice as deep as an echoing well. I realised it would be impossible to find such an actor.”

Incidentally, Gowarikar is said to be on a manhunt to find the perfect face for his Buddha. “The Little Buddha”, the 1994 feature film made by Hollywood director Bernardo Bertolucci, obliquely presents the story of the Buddha and his quest for enlightenment, with Keanu Reaves playing the role. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dalai Lama To Host Washington D.C. Peace Festival In July

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 28, 2011

By Jack Jenkins
c. 2011 Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Dalai Lama will visit Washington next month for an 11-day peace rally that is being billed as “the largest gathering for world peace in history.”

The July 6-16 “Kalachakra for World Peace” aims to “amplify the profound, unshakable commitment of (the Dalai Lama) to values such as love, compassion, wisdom and interfaith harmony,” according to publicity materials.

The first day of the event will mark the Dalai Lama’s 76th birthday.

Event activities include dancing, chanting of prayers and teachings by the Dalai Lama on Tibetan Buddhist principles. Like other events hosted by the Dalai Lama, Buddhist monks will create a colorful and detailed sand mandala, or mural, that will be swept away to illustrate the impermanence of life. Read the rest of this entry »

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Elderhood: A Buddhist Approach to Aging Well

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 22, 2011

By Lewis Richmond

This March I turned 64 — one year away from Medicare, two years away from Social Security. So there it is: I’m a baby boomer, a Buddhist, and one individual face to face with his own aging. But I’m not alone. Each day and every day for the next twenty years, 10,000 boomers will turn 65. This is a fact with enormous implications for our politics, our society — and, I believe, our spiritual life.

Forty years ago, when my Buddhist teacher Shunryu Suzuki was in his mid-sixties and the students around him were mostly in their 20s and 30s, someone asked him, “Why do we meditate?” He replied, “So you can enjoy your old age.” We all laughed and thought he was joking. Now that I am the age he was then, I realize he wasn’t joking at all. Some aspects of growing old can be hard to enjoy, and a spiritual practice can definitely help. This isn’t just theory; the Handbook of Religion and Health by Koenig et al. presents research showing that people who have a regular religious attendance or practice live, on average, 7 years longer than those who do not. That research result is even more significant when we remember that for the first time in human history, people will be living in relative good health into their 70s, 80s, and even 90s. What are we all going to do with that extra gift of time?

For the last several years I have been developing a contemplative approach to growing old and aging well. I have come to believe, as my teacher did, that spiritual practice can help us to age gracefully, and that the last part of life is a fruitful time for spiritual inquiry and practice. As part of my research, I logged on to Amazon, put in the search word “aging” and sorted by descending best-seller. Yes, there were a lot of best-selling books with the word “aging” in the title. But when I looked more closely I could see that most of the titles really weren’t about aging per se, but about postponing, disguising, or reversing aging. It was only when I set aside sales rank as my criterion that I found some good books with a spiritual approach to aging. Two of my favorites are The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully by Benedictine nun Joan Chittister, and Spirituality and Agingby gerontology professor Robert C. Atchley. Read the rest of this entry »

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Another Chinese foundation plans to raise $ 3b to make Lumbini ‘magnet for Buddhists’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 20, 2011

Months after plans of a Chinese private sector company to invest Rs 8 billion to develop Lumbini as an International

Buddha Center hogged media headlines there comes news that a Chinese-backed foundation is planning to raise $ 3 billion to help Nepal develop Buddha’s birthplace.

According to Reuters, the Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation plans to raise the aforesaid amount at home and abroad “to build temples, an airport, a highway, hotels, convention centres and a Buddhist university in the town of Lumbini.”

Interestingly, UCPN (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is the vice-chairman of the foundation which aims to transform Lord Buddha’s birthplace in southern Nepal “into a magnet for Buddhists in the same way as Mecca is to Muslims and the Vatican for Catholics”, the report adds.

The foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with Nepal government last month to jointly develop and operate Lumbini.

According to the report, the foundation also pledged to bring communications, water and electricity to Lumbini.

“Lumbini will transcend religion, ideology and race. We hope to rejuvenate the spirit of Lord Buddha,” Xiao Wunan, a devout Buddhist who is executive vice president of the foundation, told the news agency.

The development of Lumbini will also help boost government revenues, create jobs and improve infrastructure in the impoverished corner of Nepal, the report cited the memorandum as stating. Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddhism In America: What Is The Future?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 14, 2011

By Jaweed Kaleem

GARRISON, N.Y. — Backed by the nation’s largest Buddhist magazines and meditation centers, a recent invite-only gathering at an old monastery in this riverside hamlet north of New York City included a guest list of crimson-robed monks of Buddhism’s Tibetan line, tattooed “Dharma Punx,” professors and Japanese-influenced Zen Buddhists that read as a “who’s who” of Buddhism in America.

But the “Maha Council” (maha means “great” in Sanskrit) has created buzz and sparked soul-searching among members of the growing Buddhist religion in the United States for different reasons.

Who speaks for “western Buddhism,” many attendees and observers of last weekend’s event have asked, and how accurately and honestly are elder Buddhists passing on their knowledge to new generations? Read the rest of this entry »

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The Revival of Buddhism in the Asian Region: Issues and Prospects

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 6, 2011

By Prof. Dr.  Ananda W. P. Guruge

The Splendour and Grandeur that was Buddhism

The discovery of Buddhist artifacts in such far-flung places as Bulgaria, Central Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia and the Maldives testify to the extent to which Buddhism had spread in the Euro-Asian Continents.

According to Rock Edict XIII, Asoka, in pursuit of his policy of Dharmavijaya (Conquest by Righteousness), had sent his Dutas (messengers)  to Hellenic kingdoms of Macedonia, Egypt and Syria in the third century BCE. His inscriptions in Greek and Aramaic were addressed to foreign subjects in the frontiers of Mauryan Empire. One of the missions fielded by Thera Moggaliputtatissa after the Third Buddhist Council was to Greek Realms (Yonaloka). A Greek Thera, Yonaka Dhammarakkhita, led another to Aparanta, the Western Region of the Indian subcontinent. The dialogues of King Menander and Thera Nagasena, as preserved in the Milindapaha, reflect the presence of Buddhism in the Bactrian Empire.

By the third century CE, St. Clement of Alexandria knew enough of Buddhism to write of “Indians that obey the precepts of Boutta, whom, through exaggeration of his dignity, they honour as God.”

That Buddhism was the fountainhead of a multifaceted culture in the Asian Region is evident from the vast treasures of its architectural, artistic, literary, and philosophical heritage of over two millennia. The following speak of the grandeur and glory of this culture:

  • the ancient stupas of India  of Bharhut, Sanchi, Amaravati, and Nagarjunikonda, with their rich sculptural embellishments,
  • the gigantic and innovative Dagabas of Sri Lanka , e. g. Tissamaharama, Seruwila, Ruvanveliseya, Abhayagiriya, Jetavana, Kelaniya, Satmahalprasadaya, Demalamahaseya and Kota Vihara,
  • the spectacular stupas and monasteries of Taxila and Takht-i-Bahi in Pakistan,
  • the exquisite cave sculptures of Ellora in India and Yun-kang and Lun-men in China,
  • the fascinating cave architecture, stone carvings, and paintings of Ajanta, Bhaja, Karle, Nasik, Junnar and Kanheri of India, Kakrak of Afghanistan, Dunhuang, T’rin-lun-shan and Kuang-sheng of China, and Dambulla of Sri Lanka,
  • the magnificent murals of Situlpahuva, Tivanka-pilimage, Yapahuwa, Dimbulagala and Degaldoruwa of Sri Lanka, Tepe Maredjan, Bamiyan, and Begram of Afghanistan, Fundikistan of Central Asia, Yarkand, Khotan in Kashgaria, Aksu, Kizil and Kucha in Kumtura, Sorchuk, Miran, Kocho and Turkan  of Eastern Turkestan,
  • the exquisite miniature stone carvings of the Gandhara school of Buddhist art and its Indian counterpart in Mathura,
  • the stupendous Buddha statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan, Lashen in China, Sokkurgam in Korea, Galvihara, Aukana, Maligawela, Buduruvagala and Sesseruva of Sri Lanka, and Nara and Kamakura of Japan,
  • the breathtaking monuments of Angkor Wat and Bayenne of Cambodia, Borobudur of Indonesia, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy of Sri Lanka, Paharpur of Bangaladesh, Shwedagon, Mandalay, Pegu and Pagan of Myanmar, Sukhothai, Chienmai, and Ayutthiya of Thailandand Potala of Tibet,
  • the impressive university complexes of Nalanda, Vikramsila, Odantadapuri, and Valabhi of India, Mahavihara and Abhayagiriya of Sri Lanka, and Drepung, Sera and Shigatse of Tibet,
  • many thousands of Buddhist objects of art in the most prestigious museums of the world, and
  • ever-increasing architectural and artistic creations of the highest aesthetic and technical quality by the expanding Buddhist community of the world today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddha’s teaching of wisdom

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 27, 2011

by Vickramabahu Karunaratne
( Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian)The Government of Lanka says that on Wesak day this year, 2600 years after Buddha will be completed. Of course there are those who dispute the calculations of advisers to the government. In any case it must be pproximately true; and after so many years it is worth making an investigation into the fundamental teachings of Buddha. Buddha was probably the first human teacher to reject the idea of God or the Creator. Also, he rejected metaphysics and beliefs in super natural phenomena that existed in the religious practices at that time. In particular he rejected the idea of soul and the transmigration of soul towards an eternal life. In opposition to all that he put forward the idea of Dukkha as the fundamental truth of the universe. What is meant by Dukkha? Generally we hear, that Dukkha means suffering of the human subject. In that sense it is a universal truth confined to the human existence. However, what Buddha preached was a universal truth about the whole universe, or the total reality.
What is the objective meaning of dukkha? In the most general sense, dukkha means severe emptiness or negative nothingness. Does that mean continuous negation is the fundamental reality? Buddha often referred to a universal formula to depict the basic character of the reality: anitta- dukkha- anatma, meaning change-negation- lack of soul or substance. However Buddha was eager to explain the idea of dukkha referring to twelve varieties of happenings or movements. Rise and collapse, growth and decay, damage and recovery, unity of the opposite and separation of the equals, pressure and release, disturb and settle. In some places Buddha removed the last two sets and included these within damage and recovery.
In that case there were only eight movements included within dukkha. Inspite of such variations dukkha means all such possible severe happenings common to any thing and every thing within the universe. Impermanence, negation in nothingness- dukkha- is at the bottom of every thing. Physical world is a product of this self movement. Buddha said the four physical states, maha bhootha meaning general physical states, patavi or solidness, aapo or liquidness, vayo or gases, and thejo or fire are products of dukkha. In turn all physical things arise from four maha bootha. Read the rest of this entry »

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The mind and consciousness: Buddhist views vs Western science

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 25, 2011

 

There is evidence that memories can exist outside a dead brain. It is reported that some transplant patients report uncanny experiences after receiving a donated kidney, liver or heart. Without knowing who the organ donor was, they began to participate in his memories.

by M.B. Werapitiya


(May 15, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Buddhism teaches the cleansing of one’s mind of its defilements arising from craving, anger and ignorance in order to see and comprehend things in their authentic form.
The cleansing is done with systematic forms of meditation whereby engaging awareness as a vital force a strong foundation of concentration is built to progress into knowledge, wisdom and insight. With the cleansing of the mind, the kammic energy that flows for one runs its course to a finish. With the cessation of kammic energy, rebirth comes to an end. Rebirth it is that brings disease, decay, death and the whole of man’s travail. Thus, cleansing one’s mind one fulfils the purpose of one’s earthly existence.
In Buddhism there is no difference between mind and consciousness. Consciousness meeting with sense faculties triggers off thoughts which lead to mental and bodily activities giving rise to feelings, sensations, perceptions and mental formations. Consciousness being foremost in the life of man getting to know it becomes essential. Here are some theories of notable scientists and philosophers on the subject. Read the rest of this entry »

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Buddha Jayanti: A Quest for Peace

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 20, 2011

Buddhism, which like western science had its own theory of causation, was born on Nepali soil from where it was exported to entire civilisations.

By Shanker Man Singh

We remember the heritage of Lord Buddha’s insight and faith. For more than 25 centuries, this has been the guiding spirit for millions of human beings. A holy land is nobody’s possession. Anybody can worship and the more people worship it, the more humanitarian it becomes. The story of the birth of Lord Buddha in the Lumbini Garden is an exceptionally beautiful one. Equally remarkable and memorable are his teachings. His teachings and never ending search for truth and the meaning of life and death has made him a source of immense spiritual inspiration and strength. According to “The Teaching of Buddha”, he taught himself to avoid the sin of killing any living creature, because he wished all people to know the blessedness of a long life. What a revolutionary message in a world where money rather than magnamity rules the day and where it is considered better to have something than to be something.

Buddha’s philosophy is an open philosophy or religion drawing the attention of people towards human sufferings, causes of sufferings and ways of getting through this impasse ultimately leading to salvation, the goal of all religions and philosophies. The ultimate aim of life should be the quest for freeing ourselves from the state of decay and inhalation for the good of mankind. Buddha has given us a message which is of permanent value, which is an eternal message, which is of timeless character but we are unworthy descendents of that Great Master.

According to “Teaching of Buddha”, he trained himself to remain free from all deception and double talk, because he wished all people to know the tranquillity of mind that would follow from speaking the truth.

The message of Lord Buddha has lost nothing of its strength and appeal through the ages. His deep respect for life and his concern for love and compassion have much in common with the values on which the whole world philosophy on peace is based.

Mankind owes a great deal to teachings of Lord Buddha, which have exerted a great influence throughout the ages. One of his famous statements is, ” Go forth for the benefit of the many, for the happiness of many, through compassion for the world. With this message spread around , the world will be a better place to live.” That was Lord Buddha’s first advice to his followers-advice that we consider as pertinent now as it was then. Indeed, in a very real sense, it symbolises the ideals upon which the United Nations and its global work are based.

To understand the essence of any religion we need to foster in ourselves a reverence for all the sources of spiritual belief. As a place of reflection, spiritual renewal and cultural exchange, and as a symbol of peace, Lumbini can attract not only Buddhist but also people of other persuasions, who owe allegiance to the great and universal values of kindness, compassion and human fellowship which are symbolised by Lumbini and the ideals of Lord Buddha, to which it is dedicated. Read the rest of this entry »

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2555th Buddha Jayanti in UN Headquarters

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 19, 2011

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