Buddha in a big way.

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October 5th 2012
Published: October 8th 2012
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Anytime you find yourself in Lumbini, Nepal, there is really only one remotely plausible explanation for your arrival; you have come to the visit the monasteries and temples that are located at the birthplace of Buddha. Lumbini is a rather non-descript town located less than ten kilometers from the Indian border and unless you knew that it was a special sanctum for Buddhists, you would most certainly keep traveling as there is really no such thing as advertising for this sort of thing.

And so, a day after leaving the hot and sweltering environs of Chitwan National Park, (sorry we keep on harping about the heat, but damn it man, it’s seriously warm here!) we spent the day tromping around Lumbini in temperatures of 40C (104 F). And don’t forget to factor in the humidity and a complete lack of any breeze whatsoever. Sweat runs from our pours…calling it dripping would be a misnomer. Nonetheless, what an extremely cool (no pun intended) place this turned out to be. We had arrived at a place that not only was the birthplace of Buddha, but was also home to Buddhist monasteries built by many fellow Buddhists from foreign nations so that they could send their monks and lamas to study.

There are monastic zones, which contain monasteries from no fewer than seven nations, with plans to expand to some 52 when it is all said and done. Active construction on others is obvious. These are incredibly impressive structures, each unique unto themselves. There’s also a Peace Pagoda, built by Japan, which cost an estimated 1 million dollars and the Myanmar Gold Temple, both of which are wonderful structures. All of the monasteries are spread out over many acres, so be prepared to walk a lot in the hot sun depending on the time of year you visit.

When we visited the Tibetan monastery we were able to see young monks studying with their teacher. They seemed hard at work and focused on their learning.

As we approached the Maya Devi temple, there was a group of about 25 school children on a field trip. They were local school children and allowed us to take photos of them. We continued walking and they seemed fascinated by us and then they became our entourage. They smiled and walked with us for almost an hour. They wanted to make certain we saw everything we needed to see. Our guide at Buddha’s birthplace says they do not see too many people from the United States. We had a wonderful time walking together. They did not speak English but there seemed to be a universal language between us.

So why visit here? It has some great religious significance that really should not be ignored. At this point in our lives neither of us practices formal religion or attends church services. We share some spiritual beliefs and as we travel around the world have been interested in better understanding religions around the world. MJ loves to go into churches, temples, mosques, and shrines. Simply put, knowing what others hold valuable in their lives opens our minds and makes us all somewhat closer and better understood.

We are told that in Nepal there are three religions practiced; Hinduism, Buddhism and tourism…..ok, so they have a sense of humor. In Nepal, Hinduism is the primary religion followed by Buddhism, although it used to be the other way around. We’ve learned some about Hinduism and will share that information with you in another blog.
Buddha StatueBuddha StatueBuddha Statue

and his followers
There are similarities between these two religions.

The world religion that makes a lot of sense to us is Buddhism. An over simplification what we have learned Buddhism wants people “to do good”. The thing we like about this religion or philosophy is that Buddhists do not judge others. Their focus is becoming a better person. They don’t look down on you if you are not following their life path or religion. Or so we’re told. We are not planning on becoming Buddhist but we have enjoyed learning more about this religion.

Okay, for those of you still interested in learning more, here it is: Buddhism is simple and yet complex. According to Wikipedia, Buddha told people to follow the Noble eightfold path.

1. Know and understand the Four Noble Truths

2. Give up all worldly things and don't harm others

3. Tell the truth, don't gossip, and don't talk badly about others

4. Don't commit evil acts, like killing, stealing, or living an unclean life

5. Do rewarding work

6. Work for good and oppose evil

7. Make sure your mind keeps your senses under control

8. Practice meditation as a way of understanding reality

Buddha was born in the 7th or 8th century BC. According to Buddhist tradition, Maya Devi gave birth to the Buddha on her way to her parent’s home in Devadaha in the month of May in the year 462 BC. Feeling the onset of labor pains, she grabbed hold of the branches of a shade tree and gave birth to Siddharta Gautama, the future Buddha. The Buddha is said to have announced, “this is my final Rebirth” as he entered the world. Buddhist tradition also has it that he walked immediately after his birth and took seven steps, under each of which a lotus flower bloomed.

Place we stayed:

Hotel Nirvana - Lumbini

Additional photos below
Photos: 29, Displayed: 25


Halls of knowledgeHalls of knowledge
Halls of knowledge

buddhist monastery
World Peace PagodaWorld Peace Pagoda
World Peace Pagoda

Built by Japan

8th October 2012

Blissful Buddhism!
What a blissful day--a friendly group to show you around and gorgeous art and architecture (and photos) in a peaceful, albeit hot, sacred setting--I feel relaxed already. One thing I love about that Buddhism is that it accepts everything. There's not this angst about why is there suffering, they just accept that it's the human condition, so learn from it. Thanks for taking us there!
8th October 2012

Blissful indeed
Acceptance is the key...you cannot change every thing. There is a lot to learn from chaos and tragedy. It was a serene setting.
8th October 2012

my favorite
This is my favorite site so far. What a beautiful and peaceful place! The pictures were gorgeous but too few. Buddhism is the world religion that offers hope that we can be the best of ourselves. Too bad it's not more prolific across the planet.
8th October 2012

Hello Billie,
Good hearing from you again. Glad you enjoyed it. Buddhist do seem to have it figured out. Kindness and acceptance is the key. Miss you.
8th October 2012

I have a small red Buddha with a coin in his mouth sitting on my desk. That was very interesting what they beleive in. Enjoyed Love Mildred
8th October 2012

Hello Mildred and Hank,
Glad you are reading along and glad you enjoyed it. We are seeing many great things and learning a lot. Love, MJ and Dave
8th October 2012

Peace and serenity
This is what I felt when reading your latest blog entry, a lovely one and yes you made me wish to visit Lumbini (only went to Nepal once and simply loved everything about it, kindness is everywhere there) Love your "knowing what others hold valuable in their lives opens our minds" simply so true (and beautifully written), thanks for sharing your journey !
9th October 2012

Kindness is everywhere
The people of Nepal are sweet and lovely. It is a beautiful country.
9th October 2012

So let me get this straight......
...was it HOT, or was it just hot???? Love the photos, wish we were there. Ireland was enchanting. Much love, Bobbie and Tom
9th October 2012

Yep, sounds like we made our point. Glad you enjoyed Ireland. Will you publish a blog? Can't wait. Keep in touch.
9th October 2012

Enjoy it while it lasts :)
There are few places that come close to Nepal, in my mind anyway. I never got to Lumbini, but I do hope to visit one day. There is something rather compelling about Buddhism isn't there! I still recite 'Om mani padme hum' in my head, 10,000 times daily after being relentlessly exposed to it by the tourist shops which constantly blare out the chanting of Tibetan monks on CD and I already shave my head, which I like to think gives me a head start ;)
9th October 2012

You are on the path.
Buddhism makes the most sense to us. I can hear you chanting now. I had a Nepali Ice last night and all is good.
9th October 2012

You are on the path.
Buddhism makes the most sense to us. I can hear you chanting now. I had a Nepali Ice last night and all is good.
9th October 2012

this is very good country
10th October 2012

Beautiful and Interesting!
As always, your pictures are fascinating. Your pictures of the people are wonderful. Thanks for including information about the Noble eightfold path. Take care and keep enjoying the adventure! Anne and Bill
10th October 2012

Dear Anne and Bill,
So great to hear from you. Glad you are following along. We are learning so much as we move around the world. Keep in touch.
11th October 2012

Hi Merry & Dave, I love this blog! I really enjoyed the story about the Buddah and Buddhism. Hope you're having a great time! take care
11th October 2012

Hello Jennifer
Great hearing from you again. There is so much to learn out there and Buddhism makes so much sense. Glad you enjoyed it. It was cool seeing the birthplace of Buddha.
12th October 2012

I've been to Nepal but only on a short visit, and not to Lumbini. Can't wit to hear more stories! Btw, those are truly great shots. I'm traveling with you. And yes, Buddhism is fascinating. Very admirable how they strive for peace and harmony in their lives.
13th October 2012

It is all about balance
The Buddhist do seem to have it figured out. Enjoying our last day in Nepal...and then on to Bhutan.

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