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Published: October 8th 2012
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.
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
Make sure your mind keeps your senses under control
8. Practice meditation as a way of understanding reality
Buddha was born in the 7th
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
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