10 Amazing & Important Facts about Buddhism.
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This Video features Siddharth Nayak as GAUTAM BUDDHA THE AWAKENED ONE
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Lumbini, the peaceful city located in Rupandehi district of Nepal, is the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism and thus is the most important pilgrimage destination for all schools of Buddhism all around the world. Lord Buddha, the enlightened one, was born here as Prince Siddhartha Gautam in 623 B.C., the son of King Suddhodhan of the kingdom of Kapilvastu and his queen Maya Devi. According to the Buddhist literary sources, on the day of Baisakh Purnima, Maya Devi, while on her way to her maternal home, took bath in Puskarini (a pond in the garden of the palace) and immediately felt the onset of her labor pain. She grabbed the branch of a big shady tree nearby for support and gave birth to a beautiful baby prince. It is said that as soon as he was born, the new born prince took seven steps in the holy soil under each of which a lotus flower bloomed immediately. Lumbini garden, where Maya Devi gave birth to Gautam Buddha, remained neglected for a long time but now it has been beautifully maintained, and the region is now listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What Gautam Buddha Said About Lumbini To His Disciple Ananda
"Ananda, understand that Lumbini is the holy birthplace of Tathagata and should be visited by every devout person who has a desire to attain enlightenment of the soul and consciousness of the mind. And Ananda, if a devoted pilgrim dies while on a visit to this place, he will receive Mahaparinirvana (liberation from the material world)."
Lumbini as a pilgrimage destination: The peaceful spiritual atmosphere of Lumbini does not let you forget that this is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha – the advocator of peace and non-violence. This is the reason why this place has been visited by several important public figures as well. Since the ancient times, Lumbini is able to silently attract millions of Buddhist devotees all round the globe and will continue to do so in future as well.
Lumbini ToursOne of the earliest pilgrims to the region was Emperor Asoka of Maurya Dynasty. He came to the holy site in 249B.C. and erected a stone pillar as an evidence of his visit to the region. The pillar has an inscription clearly indicating that Lord Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini and thus is a bona fide evidence that Buddha belongs to the Nepali soil. The ancient pillar was discovered much later in the 19th century and that helped the archaeologists uncover many other historic ruins in the area. Also, the inscription on the top of the Asokan Pillar "Om Mani Padme Hum Ripu Malla Ciranjayatu" is a proof of King Ripu Malla's visit to the site in 1312 A.D.
As time passed by, the place turned into ruins and its importance slowly forgotten. The name Lumbini changed into Rummindei in course of time and then to the present name Rupandehi. Again, realizing the importance of this holy birthplace of supreme Lord Buddha, General Khadga Shumsher and Fuhrer Alois of British India started excavations in the ruins of Lumbini and discovered the Asokan pillar in 1896. This was after which the people started viewing Lumbini as an archaeological site. Then in 1930, General Keshar Shumsher renovated the Maya Devi Temple and uncovered several other ancient monuments and structures in the area. Later, in 1972, the entire responsibility of the conversation and maintenance of the site was handed over to the Department of Archaeology of Nepal, followed by the formation of Lumbini Development Trust in 1985, which is responsible for all the excavations and archaeological surveys in the region.
The major holy shrine in Lumbini is the exact birth spot of Gautam Buddha. Nearby the holy spot, several other structures, stupas and monuments have been constructed by the devotees as a payment of homage or due respect to the Buddha. It is believed that Lord Buddha received Mahaparinirvana (liberation from the material world) exactly where he was born. So, this spot is one of the most sacred monastic and religious sites for the Buddhists. Now, there is also a small town around the holy site, where the devotees of the Buddha reside.
The monuments in the area are briefly described below:
The Maya Devi Temple: Among all the monuments and structures, the Maya Devi Temple, which is believed to have been built over the exact same spot where Maya Devi felt the labor pain and gave birth to Lord Buddha, is the most important one. Inside the temple is the 'Nativity Sculpture' (the image of the divine god-mother Maya Devi while giving birth to the holiest prince), which is the major shrine of the temple. The sacred sanatorium in the temple is where Lord Buddha was born.
The temple later turned into the ruins due to lack of conservation and maintenance. The remains of the temple later found are believed to have their originations traced back to the 3rd century B.C. But in 2003, the temple was mutually renovated by the government of Nepal and Lumbini Development Trust, and was officially made open to public on May 16, 2003, marking the auspicious occasion of the 2047th anniversary of Lord Buddha's birth.
Movie based on Hermann Hesse's bestselling Novel Siddhartha.
Des trains pas comme les autres : le MAHA PARINIRVAN EXPRESS
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New Delhi, Apr 6 (UNI) With an aim to attract 350 million Buddhists all over the world, Maha Parinirvan Express, the just-launched special service to the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautam Buddha, is an attempt to promote and encourage Buddhist tourism in the country. An endeavour by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the service provides a tourist a hassle-free pilgrimage by looking after the stay at various destinations, sight seeing and food. ''We want to provide a good service to both Indian and international tourists on this Buddhist trail. It is a unique service for the followers of Buddhism as India is a lone destination connecting all the four places of Buddhist importance,'' Director, Tourism and Marketing, IRCTC, Dr Nalin Shinghal said. The first destination of the Maha Parinirvan Express that embarked its seven-day journey from Delhi on March 28, with passengers from Thailand, Japan, Korea and Singapore besides Indian tourists on board, was Bodh Gaya -- the land where Siddhartha attained enlightenment and became Buddha. The second halt of the journey was at the ruins of Nalanda, one of the world's first residential universities besides sight seeing at Rajgir. The next destination of Maha Parinirvan Express was Sarnath where Lord Buddha first proclaimed the Dhamma to the world. He delivered two discourses here, the Dhammacakkhapavathana Sutta and the profound Anattalakhana Sutta. It also included a visit to Banaras Hindu University, Ganga and world famous Kashi Vishwanath temple in the holy city of Varanasi on the same day. The Express then embarked its journey to Kushinagar where Lord Buddha attained Parinirvana after falling ill from eating a meal of a species of mushroom. Many of the ruined stupas and viharas here date back to 3rd century BC - 5th century. The next in line in this Buddhist pilgrimage was Lumbini in Nepal, the place where Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama. Lumbini, as of 1997, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site sprawled over 2.56 sq km. Lumbini has ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Asokan pillar and the Mayadevi temple, where the precise place of birth of Buddha is located. The next halt was Saravasti, the biggest town in the Gangetic plains during the Lord Buddha's lifetime, where Lord Buddha spent 25 rainy seasons displaying great miracles. The journey in its last leg touched world famous Taj Mahal and Agra fort. ''India as a destination is diverse, and this journey has been a spiritual learning,'' said the much-enthused Hedy Mok, a tourist operator from Singapore. IRCTC is looking forward to promoting India as a spiritual and cultural destination and Maha Parinirvan Express is a step to attain this goal, said Dr Shinghal. UNI
Read more at: *******news.oneindia.in/2007/04/06/maha-parinirvan-express-a-journey-on-the-path-of-nirvana-1176140471.html