ลุมพินีวัน สถานที่ประสูติ (Lumbini or Rummindei,Nepal)
The Buddha was born in the ancient
In Buddhist tradition the Buddha was born at Lumbini in 563 B.C. The ruler of the kingdom at that time was King Suddhodana of the Shakya dynasty of the Kshatriya, warrior, caste. The capital city of his kingdom was Kapilavastu. His queen was Maya Devi.
According to the Buddhist text, one night at the palace during the Midsummer Festival, the queen had a dream that four Brahmins came to her bedside. They carried her to a place under a sala tree in the Himmapan forest. There were devas and other spiritual beings waiting there to attend to her. Then they took her to Anodard pond to be purified of her sins. Suddenly a white elephant (the future Buddha) brought her a white lotus flower in his trunk and made a triple circumambulation around the queen. Striking her on her right side, he seemed to enter her womb. (Cf. the Introduction (Nidana Katha) to the Jataka Commentary (i.4721), paragraphs 27-28).
The next morning the queen told the king her dream. The king called sixty-four Brahmins together to interpret the dream. They told the king that the queen had become pregnant and would have a son. If his son continued to live in the household, he would become a great monarch. On the other hand, if he left the household and abandoned the world, he would become a Buddha. When the time of birth came near, the queen asked the king for permission to return to her hometown of Devadaha to give birth to their child. According to the custom of the time, a woman ready to give birth had to go to her parents’ house to have her child. King Suddhodana consented and ordered a large number of royal attendants to accompany the queen on the trip. (Some sources indicate the queen traveled to Lumbini specifically to worship the sacred tree there.) The entourage traveled about twelve and a half miles, arriving at Lumbini garden on the fifteenth day of the sixth lunar month. The beautiful garden and the peaceful neighboring areas belonged to both the Shakyas and the Koliyas clans. The day was a Friday, the day of a full moon. (This date is currently celebrated every year on the day of the full moon in May.) Since it was almost , the weather was getting hot. So the queen ordered the attendants to stop so she could rest for a while. However, it was not long before she felt labor pains. She reached up and supported herself by holding the branch of a sala tree. Thereafter the queen, standing under the sala tree, gave birth to her son as the birds were singing. (Cf. the Introduction to the Jataka (i.4721), paragraphs 29-30, 32-37. Contrast the “Acchariya-abbhuta Sutta; Wonderful and Marvelous,” in The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha (Majjhima Nikaya), III:123, 7-15; and the “Mahapadana Sutta: The Great Discourse on the Lineage,” in The Long Discourses of the Buddha (Digha Nikaya), II:14, 1.17-1.24. Neither of these latter texts mentions the Lumbini trip; both say the queen gave birth to her son standing up. One passage in the old Buddhist poetry text, the Suttanipata, alludes to Lumbini (cf. Lumbini; A Haven of Sacred Refuge, by Basanta Bidari, p. 36.) The “Mahapadana Sutta: The Great Discourse on the Lineage,” II:14, l.31, places the king’s consultation with the Brahmins after the birth of the future Buddha.)
When the future Buddha was born, he did not touch the earth: four gods received him. He emerged from the womb unbloodied, unsoiled. When he was born an immeasurable light appeared throughout the world. His body and that of his mother were washed with two streams of water, one cold and the other hot, falling from the sky. (The hot water symbolized the harshness of asceticism, the cold water the coolness of Enlightenment.) The streams from the sky formed the water within the sacred pool of Pokarani. The future Buddha, once born, looked in all four directions. (This scanning of the four quadrants, according to the commentator, meant unobstructed knowledge.) He saw no one who was his equal. He then took seven steps and stopped. (The seven steps symbolized he would acquire the seven Enlightenment factors.) He spoke the following words with a bull-like voice: “I will be the chief one, the supreme one, the eldest one in the world. This cycle of birth will be my last. There will not be another existence for me”. (Even the “bull-like” speech is significant as setting in motion the irreversible Dhamma wheel. The statement that there would not be another existence signified the “lion’s roar” of the coming Nibbana of the arahant.) The future Buddha was born with the thirty-two Brahmanical distinctive marks of a great man, for instance, a bright, golden complexion, and blue eyes. (Cf. the “Acchariya-abbhuta Sutta; Wonderful and Marvelous,” III:123, 16-21.; the “Mahapadana Sutta: The Great Discourse on the Lineage,” II:14, 1.25-1.32; and the extensive discussion of the distinctive marks in the “Lakkhana Sutta; The Marks of a Great Man,” Middle Length Discourses, III:30. Cf. the continuation of the story line in the Introduction to the Jataka (i.4721), paragraphs 40-43, 54, and 31. The Introduction also describes in paragraph number 31 how, when the future Buddha was born, thirty-two prognostics appeared, for instance, all the worlds filled with an immeasurable light, and the blind saw and the deaf heard and the lame walked.)
III. Archeology and Monuments
As an archeological site Lumbini is significant today for the Asoka pillar; the sacred pool of Pokarani (the Sakya bathing tank); the temple of Maya Devi, built over other successively built temples which were built, in turn, over one of Great King Asoka’s four stupas; the stone presumably placed by Asoka to mark the exact spot where the Buddha was born; the many stupas; the monasteries (viharas); and the bas-relief of Maya Devi giving birth. (Lumbini, by Bidari, is the principle text utilized in the following discussion. Middle Land Middle Way; A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Buddha’s India, by Ven. S. Dhammika, also has a brief discussion of Lumbini.)
1) Asoka Pillar. Great King Asoka was responsible for the construction of at least forty pillars throughout his country. The pillar at Lumbini dates from 249 B.C., the time of the king’s visit to the site to commemorate the birth of the Buddha there. Like the other pillars, this one was built of sandstone with a monolithic shaft, a separate bracket sculpture placed on the top. The shaft, over twenty-four feet high, is cracked and has two iron “belts” around it. The bracket figure (capital stone) still exists separately at the site, but it is broken. The sculpture at the top no longer exists. The inscription on the pillar reads: “King Piyadasi (Asoka) the beloved of Devas in the twentieth year of the coronation himself made a royal visit; Buddha Sakyamuni having been born here, a stone railing was built and a stone pillar erected . . .” (Department of Archeology, H.M.G. Nepal, translation, quoted in Lumbini, by Bidari, p. 60). There is some discussion as to whether the Brahmi word, silavigadabhica, in the inscription means that a stone railing (wall) was build or that a stone figure of a horse was built for the capital of the pillar. More often than not, the translations opt for the former rendition.
2) Sacred Pool of Pokarani. This pool is located just to the southwest of the
5) Bas Relief of Maya Devi. The bas-relief of Maya Devi giving birth to the Buddha is enshrined in Maya Devi temple. The bas-relief of the nativity was initially installed at the time of the Malla Kings of the Naga dynasty from about the eleventh to the fifteenth century in the Karnali zone of Nepal. (Bidari offers three views on the date of the carving of the panel, one view ascribing the work to the time of Asoka; another to the Kusana period, spanning the time between the second century B.C. and the fourth century A.D.; and a third to the Gupta period, which extended from the third to the eighth centuries A.D. (pp. 73-74).) The sculpture is a realistic depiction of the Buddha’s birth. As well as featuring the Buddha and Maya Devi, there are images of the queen’s sister, Prajapati, supporting the queen; the Hindu creator of the universe, Brahma, bent to receive the future Buddha; and the leader of the devas, Indra, who assisted him in the difficult task of teaching humanity the path to Enlightenment. The panel is over six and a half feet high and almost three and a half feet wide.
IV. Conclusion: Lumbini Today
Lumbini is currently located on 6,000 acres of land. Additional trees have been planted, and fences have been built to protect it. It is being developed under the master plan of the Lumbini Development Trust, a plan devised in 1978 by the famous Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. UNESCO lists Lumbini as a World Heritage Site. It is now under the supervision of the Nepalese government. The Government has invited Buddhists from around the world to participate in the building of Buddhist temples at the site. Many beautiful temples have been built in recent years to honor the Buddha—among others, the Myanmar (Burmese) Temple with a monastery complex nearby, the International Gautami Nuns Temple, the China Temple with its huge Buddha statue, the Dae Sung Suk Ga Sa Korean Temple, the Nepal Buddha Temple and monastery, the Japan Peace Stupa with its four Buddha statues at the dome, as well as the Thai Temple. The Lumbini International Research Institute (LIRI), dedicated to the study of Buddhism and religion in general, is also located on the premises. The weekly Lumbini bazaar offers insights into the cultural life of southern