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D. B. Gurung - Life and Letters
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      Written, collected and edited by Ram Prasad Prasainram_parsain@yahoo.com   One of contemporaneous signatures in the field of Nepali writers in English, D. B. Gurung was born in a middle-class Gurkha family in Kathmandu. His family hailed to Kathmandu originally from Rumjatar, the... Read More...
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      (Mr. Ram Prasad Prasain and his colleague Mr. Keshar Bahadur Balampaki met and talked about various facades of Nepalis Writing in English with D. B. Gurung. They prepared the questionnaires and emailed them to the novelist; and he answered them. It is written and personal interview. –... Read More...
Ancient Kapilvastu was Pretty Much Where The Tilaurakot Ruins are Today
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[On the basis of the Ashokan edicts at Paderia and Nigliva and their location along with reports of Rohan L. Jayetilleke (Article in The Himalayan Voice, March 22,2010) and Robin Coningham of Bradford University we can accept the location of Kapilavastu in Nepal Tarai zone. In this context the... Read More...
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Famous playwright and novelist Govinda Bahadur Malla 'Gothale' passed away on Monday. He was suffering from asthma and other bodily ailments since long. Malla, 88, died at around 12 in the afternoon at the Himal Hospital located in Kamalpokhari where he was undergoing treatment since Dec 5. Born in... Read More...
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[This article is extracted from ICIMOD official website. To view full text with pictures, please visit the source : http://www.icimod.org/?q=10932. Editor]   While the world is waking up to the news of the horrific scale of the recent flood disaster in the Mahakali basin of Nepal and Uttarakhand... Read More...
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Lumbini, The Birthplace Of.html

 

 

 

Brief Description
Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha, was born in 623 B.C. in the famous gardens of Lumbini, which soon became a place of pilgrimage. Among the pilgrims was the Indian emperor Ashoka, who erected one of his commemorative pillars there. The site is now being developed as a Buddhist pilgrimage centre, where the archaeological remains associated with the birth of the Lord Buddha form a central feature.

Justification for Inscription

The Committee decided to inscribe this site on the basis of criteria (iii) and (vi). As the birthplace of the Lord Buddha, the sacred area of 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 a very early period.

Long Description

As the birthplace of the Lord Buddha - the apostle of peace and the light of Asia was born in 623 BC - the sacred area of 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 a very early period. Lumbini, in the South-Western Terai of Nepal, evokes a kind of holy sentiment to the millions of Buddhists all over the world, like Jerusalem to Christians and Mecca to Muslims. Lumbini is the place where the Buddha, known as the Tathagata, was born. It is the place which should be visited and seen by a person of devotion and which should cause awareness and apprehension of the nature of impermanence. The site and its surrounding area is endowed with a rich natural setting of domesticable fauna and favourable agricultural environ. Historically, the region is an exquisite treasure-trove of ancient ruins and antiquities, dating back to the pre-Christian era. The site, described as a beautiful garden in the Buddha's time, still retains its legendary charm and beauty. The birthplace of the Gautama Buddha, Lumbini, is one of the four holy places of Buddhism. It is said in the Parinibbana Sutta that Buddha himself identified four places of future pilgrimage: the sites of his birth, Enlightenment, First Discourse, and death. All these events happened outside in nature under trees. There is no particular significance in this, other than it perhaps explains why Buddhists have always respected the environment and natural law. Lumbini is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas in modern Nepal. In the Buddha's time, Lumbini was a beautiful garden full of green and shady sal trees (Shorea robusta ). The garden and its tranquil environs were owned by both the Shakyas and the clans. King Suddhodana, father of Gautama Buddha, was of the Shakya dynasty and belonged to the Kshatriya (warrior caste). Maya Devi, his mother, gave birth to the child on her way to her parent's home in Devadaha while resting in Lumbini under a sal tree in the month of May, 642 BC. The beauty of Lumbini is described in Pali and Sanskrit literature. Maya Devi, it is said, was spellbound to see the natural grandeur of Lumbini. While she was standing, she felt labour pains and catching hold of a drooping branch of a sal tree, she gave birth to a baby, the future Buddha. In 249 BC, when the Indian Emperor Ashoka visited Lumbini, it was a flourishing village. Ashoka constructed four stupas and a stone pillar with a figure of a horse on top. The stone pillar bears an inscription, which in translation runs as follows: 'King Piyadasi (Ashoka), beloved of devas, in the 20th 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 to the Bhagavan having been born here, Lumbini village was taxed reduced and entitled to the eight part (only)'. Lumbini remained neglected for centuries. In 1895, Feuhrer, a famous German archaeologist, discovered the great pillar while wandering about the foothills of the Churia range. Further exploration and excavation of the surrounding area revealed the existence of a brick temple and sandstone sculpture within the temple itself, which depicts the scenes of the Buddha's birth. 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. Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC

Historical Description

The Shakya Prince Siddharta Gautama, better known as the Lord Buddha, was born to Queen Mayadevi, wife of King Suddodhana, ruler of Kapilavastu, in 623 BC at the famous gardens of Lumbini, while she was on a journey from her husband's capital of Tilaurakot to her family home in Devadaha. In 249 BC the devout Buddhist Emperor Ashoka, third of the Mauryan rulers of India, made a pilgrimage to this very sacred area in company with his teacher, Upagupta, and erected pillars at Lumbini, Gotihawa, and Niglihawa, as he did in many parts of India, to commemorate his visit. The inscription on the Lumbini pillar identifies this as the birthplace of the Lord Buddha. Lumbini was a site of pilgrimage until the 15th century AD. Its early history is well documented in the accounts of Chinese travellers, notably Fa Hsien (4th century AD) and Hsuan Tsang (7th century AD), who described the temples, stupas, and other establishments that they visited there. In the early 14th century King Ripu Malla recorded his pilgrimage in the form of an additional inscription on the Ashoka pillar. The reasons for its ceasing to attract Buddhist pilgrims after the 15th century remain obscure. The only local cult centred on worship of a 3rd-4th century image of Mayadevi as a Hindu mother goddess. The Buddhist temples fell into disrepair and eventually into ruins, not to be rediscovered until they were identified in 1896 by Dr A Fiihrer and Khadga Samsher, then Governor of Palpa, who discovered the Ashoka pillar. Source: Advisory Body Evaluation (Article source: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/666)

 

 

 

Ancient Kapilvastu Was Pretty.html

[On the basis of the Ashokan edicts at Paderia and Nigliva and their location along with reports of Rohan L. Jayetilleke (Article in The Himalayan Voice, March 22,2010) and Robin Coningham of Bradford University we can accept the location of Kapilavastu in Nepal Tarai zone. In this context the view of Charles Allen in his famous text The Buddha And Dr Fuhrer ( Penguin Books, 2010) is very interesting. According to Allen the best hypothesis we are ever likely to arrive on the basis of what we know at present is that the Kapilavastu in which the prince Siddhartha grew to manhood was a settlement enclosed within a walled palisade beside the modern river Banganga, pretty much where the ruins of Tilaurakot are to-day. Hiuen Tsang saw the city in Tilaurakot. ]
By Kailash Chandra Dash
The homeland of Gautam Buddha which is described in the vast Buddhist literary texts as Kapilavastu, the land and capital city of the Sakyas is now a central point of debate regarding its location among some historians and archaeologists. It is a subject of considerable interest from the last decade of the 19th century A.D. and now it is associated with national interest and pride. Some historians locate Kapilavastu in Piprahwa, some others locate it in Tilaurkot and still others locate it in Bhubaneswar of Odisha. I have presented the arguments against the location of Kapilavastu in Odisha in the pages of The Himalayan Voice. Hence in this paper my focus is directed to the debate on the location of Kapilavastu either in India or in Nepal.
The location of Kapilavastu is to be studied in the context of Lumbini, the real spot of the birth of Gautam Buddha. We find the name of Lumbini Grama in the edicts of Ashoka as well as in the famous text Buddha Charita of Asvaghosh of 1st century A.D. Interestingly Buddha Charita explains Lumbini as Vananta-bhumi(a forest area), This term Lumbini is in all probability a local term whose Sanskrit equivalent was given by Asvaghosh as Vanantabhumi. This explains the fact that Lumbini-the spot where Gautam was born was a peculiar term of the areas on the Hmalayan zone. This compels us to think that the term was associated with ancient Nepal and not with ancient India. The text Buddha Charita states of Kapila Janapada Nagara where Sakyas and their leader Suddhodana-the father of Gautama were living with prosperity. Thus Lumbini and Kapilavastu(the land of Kapila) were connected. The inscriptions(pillar edicts) of Ashoka refer to the birthplace of Kanakamuni Buddha and Gautam Buddha which he had visited and erected stupas in his 20th reganl year. This suggests that both the sites were included in the kingdom of Kapilavastu. Considering their present location and the reading of the edicts of Ashoka it is now clear that they were in ancient time located near the Himalayan area which is now called Nepal Tarai zone. This also explains the location of Kapilavastu in Nepal Tarai.
The Sakyas of Kapilavastu were in control of a part of Himalayan region which was attached to the Kosala kingdom in 6th-7th century A.D. Sakya was a republican state in ancient Bharat Varsha. But according to Buddhist sources like Bhaddasalajataka Kapilavastu and the Sakyas were destroyed by king Vidudabha, son of Prasenjit of Kosala during the lifetime of Gautam Buddha. But probably the city was not completely destroyed because the Sakyas of Kapilavastu got a part of the ashes of Buddha after his death which were divided into eight parts-the recipients being Ajatasatru of Magadha, Lichhavis of Vaisali, Bulis of Allakappa, A Brahmin of Vethadipa, Mallas of Kusinagara, Koliyas of Ramagrama and the Sakyas of Kapilavastu, Thus even after the destruction by the Kosalan king some parts of Kapilavastu remained. By the time of Samudragupta the Sakya clan was not prominent, but Nepal was famous then as a frontier state. Accordng to Allahabad Pillar inscription Nepal remained a frontier kingdom under Samudragupta after paying all taxes. Thus this explains the fact that the remaining portions of Kailavastu must have been a part of the frontier kingdom of Nepal during the Gupta phase. Kapilavastu could not be separated from the border areas which covered Nepal then.
The reports of the Chinese pilgrims like Fa-hien in A.D. 399 and Hiuen Tsang in A.D. 629 refer to Kapilavastu. According to Fa-hien after the city of Sravasti and going 12 yojanas to the south-east there was a town called Na-pi-ka which was the birth-place of Krakuchchanda Buddha. Going north from this place less than one yojana, there was a town where Kanakamuni Buddha was born. Going east ward from this less than a yojana, the city of Kapilavastu appeared. Fifty li to the east of this city was the royal garden of lumbini where Gautam Buddha was born. According to Hiuen Tsang proceeding from Sravasti and going south-east 500 li or so the country of Kapilavastu appeared. Taking Sravasti as a point and calculating the distance given by both the Chinese pilgrims and considering the location of Ashokan pillar edicts at these places we find Kapilavastu in Nepal Tarai zone and not in India proper.
K.M.Srivastava identified ancient Kapilavastu with Piprahwa find. In other words on the basis of the Piprahwa seals . His famous work Buddha`s Relics from Kapilavastu (Agam kala Prakashan, Delhi, 1986) refers to some important sealings in this context. After excavation of this area some seals were found which contain inscriptions. One inscription of the seals states-Devaputravihara, Kapilavastu Bhikhu Sangha and another states-Maha Kapilavastu Bhikku Sangha. On the basis of these inscriptions Srivastava was inclined to identify Kapilavastu in Piprahwa zone thereby presenting the location of Kapilavastu in India. A careful study of these inscriptions do not support the great conclusion of Srivastava. The description of Kapialvastu Bhikkhu Sangha and Devaputravihara indicates that both are distinct terms. It might be that Kapilavastu Bhikhu Sangha was very active in the monastery called Devaputra vihara for some years or so. It does not conclusively state that Kapilavastu Bhikhu Sangha was a part of Devaputra vihara. On the other hand that sangha called Maha Kapilavastu Bhikku Sangha or Kailavastu Bhikku Sangha was there to perform some ritual works at Devaputra vihara. It only points out that Kapilavastu was probably located nearby or far way zone of Devaputra vihara. It does not deny the possibility that Kapilavastu was included in the area called Tilaurkot of Nepal and as Piprahwa is a nearby zone Kapilavastu Samgha-a premier Buddhist organization of Tilaurkot was active there for ritual and other works. The interpretation of the inscription supports the thesis that Kapilavastu Bhikhu Sangha was not an original part of the Devaputra Vihara; its existence beyond Devaputra vihara is more clear. On the basis of this inscription we can only conclude that the name Kapilavastu was well known then and a Buddhist sangha was active in that zone. It might have been a part of the original Kapilavastu which had then existed beyond Piprahwa.
On the basis of the Ashokan edicts at Paderia and Nigliva and their location along with reports of Rohan L. Jayetilleke (Article in The Himalayan Voice, March 22, 2010) and Robin Coningham of Bradford University we can accept the location of Kapilavastu in Nepal Tarai zone. In this context the view of Charles Allen in his famous text The Buddha And Dr Fuhrer ( Penguin Books, 2010) is very interesting. According to Allen the best hypothesis we are ever likely to arrive on the basis of what we know at present is that the Kapilavastu in which the prince Siddhartha grew to manhood was a settlement enclosed within a walled palisade beside the modern river Banganga, pretty much where the ruins of Tilaurakot are to-day. Hiuen Tsang saw the city in Tilaurakot.
The ancient sites currently lying neglected east of the river Banganga between Sagarwa lake and the Indian border need to be excavated for this purpose. The Ganwaria-Piprahwa complex was essentially a Buddhsit monastic site that was in full developmet from the Maurya phase to the Kushan phase. The entry of Kapilavastu Sangha in this zone was for the progress of the Buddhit site and this connection is not an important factor to identify Piprahwa zone with ancient Kapilavastu, the land of the Sakyas and Gautam Buddha.
* The author is Reader in History, Binayak Acharya Government College, Brahmapur - 6, Odisha, India Emal: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.\>This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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