- PHOTO: Buddhist lay practitioners in Mahayana temple attire venerate a statue of the Bodhisattva during the annual Phi Ta Khon Festival at a temple in Suining, Sichuan province, China, May 2, 2009 (Reuters/Stringer).
Sunday, June 19, 2011
China, Nepal develop Buddha’s "birthplace"
Golden face of the Buddha passing into final nirvana, Thailand (reuters.com)
China plans to help Nepal develop Buddha’s birthplace at Lumbini
(Reuters) A Chinese-backed foundation and Nepal’s government plan to transform the Buddha’s birthplace in southern Nepal into a magnet for Buddhists the same way Mecca is to Muslims and the Vatican is for Catholics.
The Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation plans to raise $3 billion at home and abroad to build temples, an airport, a highway, hotels, convention centers, and a Buddhist university in the town of Lumbini, about 107 miles (171 km) southwest of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu.
The foundation, blessed by the Chinese government, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nepalese government last month to jointly develop and operate Lumbini, where the Buddha was [said to be] born Prince Siddhartha Gautama about 2,600 years ago. The foundation also pledged to bring communications, water, and electricity to Lumbini.
Buddhism was virtually wiped out in China during the chaotic 1966-76 [Communist/officially atheist] Cultural Revolution when temples were shut, Buddhist statues smashed, scriptures burned, and monks and nuns [killed or] forced to return to secular life and marry. In recent years, China has become more tolerant of Buddhism, which is considered “traditional culture” alongside Taoism and Confucianism.
Bodhi tree and the Mayadevi pond in Lumbini, Nepal, Nov. 2006 (Reuters/Bpilgrim)
“Lumbini will transcend religion, ideology, and race. We hope to rejuvenate the spirit of Lord Buddha,” said Xiao Wunan, a devout Buddhist who is executive vice president of the foundation. The development of Lumbini will... More
The Real Lumbini
Dr. Ranajit Pal
Nepal is a beautiful country, but a Gautama [Pali, Gotama] of Nepal is a [archeological] fraud. Nothing in the art, archaeology, history, or literature of early Nepal has the faintest hint of Buddhism.
R. Thapar affirms that Gautama was from the Nepal area, but this has no archaeological basis. Wikipedia pays lip service to archaeology and heedlessly places Gautama at Lumbini, thereby reducing history into a caricature. C. Humphreys laments over the stark ground reality,
"The Lumbini gardens, where Gotama was born, lie in the difficult Nepal Terai, and Kusinara, where the Buddha passed away, has little to show.'"
The way out of the chaos is shown by the British scholar T. Phelps who has exposed the dreadful forgeries of Führer who moved pillars and faked inscriptions and relics to falsely locate Lumbini. More