2014 - Buddhist Pilgrimage to Nepal (Day 8) in Lumbini

BUDDHIST PILGRIMAGE TO INDIA “In the Master’s Footsteps” 24 Nov – 5 Dec 2014 (12D/11N)
Dr. Basanta Bidari on the left and Datuk Seri Dr. Victor Wee holding the two books published by Dr. Basanta

Day 08: 01.12.2014 (Monday) Lumbini the birthplace of the Buddha.

The morning call was at 6am and breakfast at 7am. At 8am we all walked to Lumbini Garden to see the birth place of the Buddha in the ancient Shakya Kingdom. Tour of the Lumbini includes the Ashoka or Rummir Pillar, base relief image of Maya Devi Puskarini, the sacred pool sanctum – Santorum of the birthplace of the Buddha.
 

At 10.30am we walked to Panditarama Lumbini International Vipassana Meditation Center (Myanmar) to perform Dana to 7 monks. After that we offered food to the yogis in the center. There was a talk by the monk. We then visited The Great Drigung Kagyud Lotus Stupa. At 11.30am we took the bus back to hotel for our lunch at 11.45am.
 

In the afternoon at 1.45pm we depart for Kudan to visit the main temple with an Eastern Gate and a Western Gate. We then did a ten minutes meditation at the Eastern Gate. We came back to hotel for dinner at 7pm.
 

Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner and overnight at Lumbini: Hotel Buddha Maya
Cheong Jin Jee and Ching Bee Geok during breakfast.

At 8am we all walked about 25 minutes to Lumbini Garden.

Y.S. Khong and myself in front of the Lumbini Garden.
Lumbini, in the Terai plains of Nepal is the birthplace of the Lord Buddha and is considered as one of the greatest pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. It had been declared a UNESCO heritage and the site is now being developed as a Buddhist pilgrimage centre, where the archaeological remains associated with the birth of the Lord Buddha.




The Lord Buddha was born in 623 BC in the sacred area of Lumbini located in the Terai plains of southern Nepal, testified by the inscription on the pillar erected by the Mauryan Emperor Asoka in 249 BC. Lumbini is one of the holiest places of one of the world's great religions, and its remains contain important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centres from as early as the 3rd century BC.
The complex of structures within the archaeological conservation area includes the Shakya Tank; the remains within the Maya Devi Temple consisting of brick structures in a cross-wall system dating from the 3rd century BC to the present century and the sandstone Ashoka pillar with its Pali inscription in Brahmi script.
The Maya Devi Temple. It marks the site where Princess Maya Devi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama.

It is pointed out by scholars that the temple of Maya Devi was constructed over the foundations of more than one earlier temple or stupa, and that this temple was probably built on an Ashokan stupa itself. To the south of the Maya Devi temple there is the famous sacred bathing pool known as Puskarni. It is believed that Maya Devi took a bath in this pool before the delivery. By the side of the Ashoka pillar a river which flows south-east and is locally called the Ol. In 1996, an archaeological dig unearthed a 'flawless stone' placed there by Ashoka in 249 BC to mark the precise location of the Buddha's birth more than 2,600 years ago. If authenticated, the find will put Lumbini even more prominently on the map for millions of religious pilgrims.

Meditation by BGF group beside Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini Garden.

Vipassana meditation from the Theravada tradition is a practice of training the mind in continuous moment-to-moment mindfulness throughout the whole day. Through an unbroken and continuous observation of distinct physical and mental objects arising in one's meditation, a meditator will come to understand the three universal characteristics of all phenomena; that they are impermanent, unsatisfactory and void of an abiding self.

The mind has a tendency to be dominated by various unwholesome mental states such states as greed, anger, fear, ignorance, pride, wrong views, doubts, laziness, restlessness and worry, to name just a few. These may be seen as the causes for suffering, both in us and in all beings. But through careful observation these unwholesome mental states will subside, allowing wholesome mental states to arise in their place. Mental states such as effort, mindfulness, concentration, intuitive wisdom, joy, tranquility or peace, happiness, loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity, contentment, and patience reduce suffering and increase a person's mental and physical well-being. This is known as the purification of the mind, which is another major benefit of Vipassana meditation.


Bodhi tree and the famous sacred bathing pool known as Puskarni.

Monks sitting around the Bodhi tree beside the pond.







At 10.30am we walked to Panditarama Lumbini International Vipassana Meditation Center (Myanmar) to perform Dana to 7 monks. After that we offered food to the yogis in the center.


Panditarama Lumbini International Vipassana Meditation Center was set up by Sayadaw U Panditabhivamsa of Myanmar in cooperation with the Venerable Sayadaw U Asabhacara and inaugurated on February 7, 1999.





















Panditarama Lumbini offers a supportive, comfortable and peaceful setting for dhamma-students seeking practice. The meditation method is intensive Vipassana in the tradition of the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw of Myanmar, which consists of sitting meditation and formal walking meditation throughout the day. Almost daily interviews and regular Dhamma-talks in English. Meditators observe Noble Silence and keep eight precepts.


















The birth of Siddhartha in Lumbini.




Siddhartha cutting hair.

Six years of self-mortification.
Mara's temptations.

The Enlightenment.


The Mahaparinirvana.






Kudan: Located some 4.5 km south of Tilaurakot, Kudan is where King Suddhodhan met Lord Buddha for the first time after returning from his enlightenment. It was here that the Kasaya (yellow robe worn by monks) was presented to Lord Buddha. It was also here that the Kasaya was presented by Lord Buddha to Rahul, his son.

Kudan: Site where Buddha met his father, mother, wife and son for the first time after his renunciation; his son Rahul was ordained by Buddha’s most revered disciple.


The Buddha preached five important sutras and told the story of his search for supreme knowledge here during his stay with 300 his disciples at Kudan.


According to Buddhist tradition, Kapilavastu is the name of the ancient city where Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha, was raised and lived until the age of 29, when he renounced worldly life.



Four gates have been found along the fortification wall in each cardinal direction. Of the four gates, archaeologists have so far excavated two. The exposed western gate is made up of bricks, brickbats, mortar, wood and iron, had many doors, one after another.

Archaeologist T. N. Mishra found three phases of construction of the gateway. He found the first and second phases of construction in the layer 3 dating from 2nd-1st century B.C. The third phase of construction is associated with layer 2, which dates from 1st – 2nd century A.D (Bidari, 2007: 259).



P. C. Mukherji explored the eastern gate in 1899. He uncovered an ancient large square building close to the gate, which he assumes that might have been used for security purposes. The middle section of the eastern fort wall, which has been identified as the Mahaviniskramana Dwara or Mangal Dwara, is the gate from where Prince Siddhartha walked out of the palace (Rijal, 1996). It is said that when Prince Siddhartha set out on the journey, the guards posted at the gate and people of Kapilavastu had fallen asleep and did not notice anything (Mitra, 1998). A number of doors found along the gateway are guardrooms that indicates a high degree of precaution and security management of the palace, the main administrative complex and the residences of the king.

Back in the hotel for dinner. We bought books from Dr. Basanta Bidari.


2 comments:

  1. Hi Ching, Thank for the sharing nice places to visit.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ong Keng Ming28 December, 2014

    I wish I got stamina to join your tours and really envy you. I am coming to 71, office worker living in Sydney, not very fit and with some knee problems. Now only on tours with wine, women, songs and fine dining. Please keep updating me. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete