Nepal battles misconceptions over Buddha’s birthplace

RNS () — Quick: Where was the Buddha born? To hear many Indians talk, you’d think it was India, where … Continued

RNS () — Quick: Where was the Buddha born?

To hear many Indians talk, you’d think it was India, where he attained enlightenment and gave his first sermon.

But the people of Nepal know better — and they are eager to correct misconceptions about the Awakened One, considered one of the world’s most revered figures.

Next month, Nepal will circulate a new 100-rupee note with the imprint, “Lumbini: The Birthplace of Lord Buddha.” The currency is part of the government’s most recent effort to correct the record.

It comes amid protests following a promotional video on the private Indian channel Zee TV, which claimed the Buddha was born in India.

Zee TV corrected the error, but Nepal Cable TV Association blocked the channel when the new series on the life of Buddha premiered on Sunday (Sept. 8). The association’s chairman described the move as a way to prevent possible unrest in the country, which is predominantly Hindu but proud of its Buddhist heritage.

“We believe it was a mistake by Zee TV,” said association Chairman Sudhir Parajuli. “The official stand of the Government of India is that the Buddha was born in Nepal, but a few people not having sufficient knowledge proclaim that his birthplace is in India.”

Most scholars agree that Buddha was born in 623 B.C. in the sacred area of Lumbini located in the plains of southern Nepal. An inscription on a pillar erected by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in 249 B.C. testifies to it.

Still the misconception persists.

In 2010, Indian-American journalist Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN’s flagship foreign affairs show and editor-at-large at Time magazine, sparked protests in Nepal for stating in a book that the Buddha was Indian.

And just this Monday (Sept. 9) at a Buddhist function in Delhi, the state’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit referred to the Buddha, saying, “India has been fortunate that he was born here and today we find that his message spread to millions of people brings them solace and comfort all over the world.”

In April, a former TV journalist from Nepal, Rabi Lamichhane, returned to his country from the United States determined to clear the record. He did so by staging a marathon talk show that lasted 62 hours and 12 minutes titled “Lord Buddha was born in Nepal.” The marathon was certified by the Guinness World Records as the longest talk show.

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  • PM Shrestha

    Lord Buddha taught us not to lie. He was born in Lumbini, Nepal. He was enlightened in Gaya, India.

    Nepal never claimed Buddha was enlighten in Nepal.

    I have read that India is constructing fake Lumbini, they have money, skills to make duplicate. But they will never succeed to turn lie into truth.

    While China or Pakistan encroaches Indian land they are hurt but they do the same along the boarder of Nepal, snatching land from the farmers, raping women, beating them even by SSB.

    They sheltered and nourished Maoists of Nepal for 10 years, uprooted the institution of Monarchy and now they are using Maoist in Nepal for their interest. Like wise they are using other politicians and parties as well. Thus, neither from the Government or from any parties or politicians uttered a single word against what they did through ZeeTV regarding Lord Buddha.

  • Third Eye Nepal

    Buddha was born in Lumbini according to historical proofs that lies in modern Nepal now. In the past here was nor Greater India nor Nepal as they are today but many small kingdoms. The most important is what Buddha taught than where he was born. India should stop creating a pseudo Lumbini Inside Indian territory near Nepal border. The birth of refined soul’s like Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad are not for sects for for whole humanity. This issue of Buddha’s birth place may bring further clash between Nepal and India in the future. Let’s grow ahead for world peace. Let’s understand the law of impermanence as taught by Buddha that nothing remains same. In the history many countries have come into existence and disappeared. May peace prevail on Earth and may not there be any dispute and quarrel regarding the birth place of Buddha. Are we living with Buddha consciousness is more important.

  • Bikash Shrestha

    Yeah! of course the birthplace of buddha is lumbini, Nepal .Why do must educated indians have such misconception.