THE HIMALAYAN VOICE

THE BUDDHA BIRTH PLACE CONTROVERSY : JUST IGNORE DO NOTHING

Posted on: February 1, 2010

On Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 10:36 AM, Rana 1616 wrote:

Dear All,

The current Chinese and Indian economic growth rate [ 9% and 7% rounded respectively] is anything but an ‘opportunity’ for the Americans, Prof. Lawrence Summers, the White House Chief Economic Advisor said today in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. 

Two points of some importance:

* Some Chinese immigrants are said to be returning to their homeland – China. The reason: better paying JOBs ! 

* Good paying jobs, lots of money in pocket, Chinese visitors to USA spend extravagantly !

How can Nepal benefit from these two giant neighbours ?

The Lumbini Garden , the Buddha Birth Place, can be something to attract Chinese Buddhists to visit Nepal. But according to Nepal’s Envoy to China [refer to an email message below] 90 % Chinese Buddhists do NOT know about Lumbini – the birth place of Buddha ! This suggests Nepal needs to focus on Chinese tourists also.

There was a kind of ’email discussion’ all fueled with nationalistic pride among the concerned Nepalese the previous week on Buddha’s birth place ! Buddha was born in Lumbini of Nepal. There is no question about it. But writing otherwise, Fareed Zakaria has also demonstrated his nationalistic zeal towards India. 

This all seems to be natural for the writer as he is neither a historian nor an archaeologist who would have minutely gone through the Lumbini archaeological finds. Rather in a sense more than it appears, he is hammering Hinduism for the decline of Buddhism in the Indian sub-continent.( I briefly read those 154 and 155 pages of the book last evening. Nothing that serious !)

A book published in May 2008 belatedly however, received appreciation in Nepal’s Constituent Assembly almost 2 years later ! Good lord, the Maoist law makers could make ‘such a stuff’ an issue ! There are lots of others who have written otherwise on the Buddha’s birth place ! Who cares ? We wouldn’t. 

Do nothing, just ignore and walk the walk !

Have a nice day every body,

The Himalayan Voice,

Cambridge, Massachusetts,
United States of America

On Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 11:00 AM, Rana 1616 wrote:

Dear Thapaji,

Namaste,

Many thanks for the message below. No, I don’t have that much knowledge on Buddha and Buddhism because my knowledge of Sanskrit is very limited hence Pali also.

Before this new controversy broke out we had also discussed the Buddha birth place controversy at some five/six months ago. (We had no idea at all whether such a book was written or existed). Some funny stuff were posted or directed towards me. No single Nepalese scholar posted any reaction or reply ! [They don’t just do it publicly – there are some understandable reasons, I know].

Absurdly enough, Ajit Kumar Tripathy , quoting from both Cunnigham’s ‘The Ancient Geography of India'[1871] and Mahapatra’s ‘The Real Birth Place of Buddha'[1977] claims that the Ashokan pillar in Lumbini is a ‘second pillar’ or ‘duplicate or artificial’ as the original one was destroyed during the religious disturbances in Orrisa. He sticks to ‘Kapileswar inscription’ which Prof. Dines Chandra Sircar has disqualified as ‘bogus and forged’. Another renowned Orriya historian Prof. Karuna Sagar Behera has dismissed the claim that Buddha was born in Kapileswar. 

Mr. Tripathy also checks linguistically and thinks toponyms like ‘Lumbini’ and ‘Kapilvastu’ as rare in Nepal . But we understand that Lumbini in Magar language is [lumbini> lungbingi> lung (stone)+ bingi (bari or flatland)]. Should he require more linguistic-anthropological proofs – we can provide.

To address this issue, I think, no political leaders are required to take to the streets of Kathmandu or burn the book down to ashes. Or no Nepalese home minister should write anything to the culture minister of Nepal  but Nepalese scholars should flex their academic muscle.

Firstly, they should deal with both Cunnigham and Mahapatra’s works. And then William Claxton Peppé and Charles Allen’s ‘  and so forth.  And maybe to those who argue Buddhism went out from Iran [ Spread of Early Buddhism – Into Iran or Out of it? ]

Nepal government should fund ranking university scholars to ‘cool down’ this controversy.

Thank you,

Rana 1616

Cambridge, Massachusetts,

USA

On Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 3:41 AM, Rana 1616 wrote:

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Rana 1616 

Date: Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 6:31 PM

Subject: God bless Nepal’s Tribhuvan University ! Buddha Birth Place Controversy

To: Vice-Chancellor Tribhuvan University , Center for Nepal and Asian Studies ;Center for Economic Development and Administration , Centre for International Relations Tribhuvan University , “Curriculum Development Center Tribhuvan University [CDC]” , 

Dear All,

a) It is very sad to learn that Nepal’s oldest university is indulged in teaching “Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha (Enlightened One), had been born about 563 BC to a princely family of northern India,” [ A History of Knowledge: Past, Present and Future’ . A prescribed text book for the English Department- page 21 http://tinyurl.com/y9p8zco ]

b) On the birth place of Buddha India’s one of the most prominent epigraphers Prof. Dinesh Chandra Sircar has disqualified the ‘Kapileswar inscription’ as ‘bogus and forged’ one. During the ‘Indian History Congress 1980 in Mumbai’ another renowned Orrisa historian Prof. Karuna Sagar Behera had dismissed the claim that Buddha was born in Kapileswar [ http://tinyurl.com/yl3jlyv ].

And may god bless Nepal’s Tribhuvan University !

Thanks,

Rana 1616

Cambridge, Massachusetts
USA

On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 3:20 PM, Rana 1616 wrote:

Dear All,

Burning down a book which states Buddha was an Indian [The Post-American World http://tinyurl.com/yj96joj ] is no good thing to do. The other perplexing article http://tinyurl.com/y8jecte is still hanging in the internet. A group of people are divided on the birth place of Buddha.

My only concern is what Prof. Tulasi Ram Vaidhya and Prof. Tri Ratna Manadhar would have said or written about it.

The truth must shine. There is nothing political in it.

Thanks,

Rana 1616

On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 2:22 PM, Tilak Shrestha wrote:

Dear All:

Namaskar

I definitely insist that Buddha is real and born in Nepal. I am quite proud and confident in that. Only thing I am for is to go around developing the Lumbini as a Buddhist learning and meditation center first, without getting into unnecessary political debate. Let people recognize his genius and his preaching of the way of the enlightenment first, without any other issues attached. Let recognition that he is a Nepali clad in Bhadgaole Topi be the side product. And of course, I have absolutely no reservation against the donations coming in from the pilgrims either.

Sincerely,

Tilak Shrestha, Ph.D.

Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2010 13:36:24 -0600

Subject: Re: Whether Buddha born in Lumbini or in Orissa?

From: rana1616@gmail.com

To: thapagp@yahoo.com; tilakbs@hotmail.com; bina_vaidya@hotmail.com; 

On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 2:36 PM, Rana 1616 wrote:

Dear All

Whether Buddha was a real human or mythical hero is a question and whether Christ was also a real human is yet another question asked. So the birth place for anyone should not be that important – agreed. 

‘The Buddha and Dr Fuhrer: An Archaeological Scandal http://tinyurl.com/yckl6cp ( see ‘The Buddha and the Sahibs’) in which Charles Allen disregards Dr. Anton Fuhrer’s Lumbini finds. Also please see Alexander Cunnigham’s book [The Ancient Geography of India 1871 – Google Digitized Book].

Following Sir Alexander Cunnigham’s ‘Geography of Ancient India’ and N.K. Sahu’s ‘Buddhism in Orissa’ [Utkal University, 1958 ] Chakradhar Mahapatra brought this unnecessary debate out some 33 years ago [(The Real Birth Place of Buddha -1977). His book has been cited as of “little scholarly value, if the writer has a fairly thorough knowledge of the archaeology of the pilgrimage route, it is fun to read”]. And, up till now Indian writers claim Buddha was born in Orrisa. The latest in the line has become Fareed Zakaria [ a Harvard PhD and International Editor, Newsweek Magazine. His book The Post-American World has been burnt down in Nepal recently //:htinyurl.com/yj96jojttp ].

In the meantime a professor from Chandigarh,India had written in an email discussion that Orrisa, being one of the poorest states in India, would virtually want to boost its revenue also from tourism declaring Kapileswhor as Buddha’s birth place, if it really were. Furthermore this Indian scholar had mockingly suggested rotating Buddha’s birth place in between Lumbini of Kapilvastu, Nepal and Lembai of Kapileswara, Orrisa like Olympic Games every four years !

End Note: Nepalese scholars always stand silent when there is such a debate. They just keep quiet, don’t they ?

Thanks,

Rana 1616

Cambridge, Massachusetts
USA

On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 1:27 AM, Dr. Govind Prasad Thapa wrote:

Dear all,

What makes me sick are things like this. What difference does it make–whether Buddha was born in Lumbini or in Orissa? Let Buddha be owned and honored by all– irrespective of their religion and culture. Let Buddha be respected and adored for not being a Nepali or Indian but for being a Preacher of Nonviolence and Peace Maker in the world. Similarly, let Mahatma Gandhi be revered, well respected not for being Indian but for his great philosophy by all. The internal soul is more important and permanent. The physical boundaries should not be important.

Even if someone claims something out of ignorance or malintention that does not mean the history is changed. The fact remains fact.

Govind P. Thapa, Nepal

On Sun, Jan 24, 2010 at 11:52 PM, Tilak Shrestha wrote:

Dear all:

Namaskar

As I wrote before I have some what different view on it. I think we should not bother shouting that Buddha was born in Nepal. First Buddha is global, not local personality, and then there were no Nepal or India as we know now. However, more importantly we should have intelligent approach on the issue.

We need to build one five star hotel and five one star hotels. And we also need to build many meditation halls, libraries and Buddhist study center. Then we should promote Lumbini as pilgrimage, meditation retreat and tourist site. Let people from all over the world come here for enlightenment, slow if not instant. 

Let a Nepali tell an Indian that Buddha was born in India. If the Indian was ever been to Lumbini, I imagine he would correct the Bahadur with knowing smile.

May Buddha bless us all.

Sincerely,

Tilak Shrestha, Ph.D.

From: Bina Vaidya 

To: rana1616@yahoo.com

Sent: Sat, January 23, 2010 11:46:25 PM

Subject: RE: CONTROVERSY AGAIN/ THE REAL BIRTH PLACE OF BUDDHA/THE POST-AMERICAN WORLD

Dear Ranaji 

There is no doubt that the birth place of Lord Buddha is Lumbini of Nepal. Many documents for proof is available in the old manuscripts. Many materials of that time have been found during excavations of Lumbini. This is accepted by international bodies. So it is true Buddha is not born in India.

Thank You

Bina

Associate Librarian

Tribhuban University, Central Library

Kirtipur, Kathmandu

From: Rana 1616 [mailto:rana1616@gmail.com] 

Sent: Sunday, January 24, 2010 10:51 AM

To: Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers Singh Durbar Kathmandu Nepal; Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Cc: Embassy of India Washington DC; The Hindu Daily; The Hindusthan Times

Subject: Re: LUMBINI IS NOT PART OF INDIA/THE BUDDHA BIRTH PLACE CONTROVERSY

On Sat, Jan 23, 2010 at 10:26 PM, Khildhoj Thapa wrote:

On last Poush 01, 2066 Bikram Era [ i.e. December 16, 2009 ], an Indian Tourist Guide asked a group of Thai tourists to sing Indian National Anthem infront of Ashoka Stambha (column /pillar) at Lumbini, saying that it was a part of India.

Some Nepali Buddhists, who were standing nearby, stopped them from chanting the foreign national anthem, saying that it was Nepal. There was no reaction from the Government of Nepal, nor the Nepali Press !?!

On Sat, Jan 16, 2010 at 8:54 AM, Rana 1616 wrote:

I sincerely differ here. I am indifferent actually on Buddha’s birth place whether it was Lumbini of Nepal or Kapileshowr in Orissa, India. 

I sometime think was Buddha a real human or a mythical personage. But there are also some who believe Buddha was born in Orissa http://orissagov.nic.in/e-magazine/Journal/jounalvol1/pdf/orhj-3.pdf 

As of nation-state sort of thing – was there any India some 2500 years ago ? I hope you have pretty fair knowledge of Ashokan inscription ‘hida Bhagavam jateti Lumminigame’ also. 

It even doesn’t say Lumbini was in India and “Buddha was an Indian”. 

Thanks,

Rana 1616

Woodland Heights
Milford, 
New Hampshire, 
USA,03055

On Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 3:05 PM, del Pilar, Jessica H wrote:

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to write to me. I understand that you were displeased by one section, particularly with my saying that “Buddha was Indian.” You rightly point out that the Buddha was born in Lumbini, in modern-day Nepal—not in India.

Please know that I meant no disrespect to Nepal, a country that I love. The Buddha was born and lived 2,500 years ago, in an age before modern-day boundaries were drawn and before the idea of a nation-state even existed. When I referred to the Buddha as “Indian” I meant it only in the geographic sense of the word, as a person hailing from the Indian subcontinent—not as a citizen of a particular state. I apologize if I offended you.

All best,

Fareed Zakaria

From: Rana 1616 [mailto:rana1616@gmail.com] 

Sent: Monday, January 11, 2010 2:00 PM

To: fzassist

Subject: THE POST-AMERICAN WORLD

HELLO,


I HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK – THE POST-AMERICAN WORLD BUT HAS THE WRITER WRITTEN BUDDHA BORN IN INDIA ? HE SHOULD HAVE RESEARCHED BEORE HE HAD WRITTEN SO. HAVE YOU HEARD THE BOOK HAS BEEN BURNT DOWN IN NEPAL ?

_______________

Woodland Heights
Milford, 
New Hampshire, 
USA,03055

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