Footsteps of Lord Buddha: Lumbini: Birthplace of Lord Buddha

20150316_164218Lumbini, Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha’s mother Mahamaya was enroute to Kapilavastu when she was pregnant. On the way she stopped at Lumbini garden and under a tree Lord Buddha was born. It is generally believed that he was born in 623 BC on full moon day of the sixth month of Lunar calendar according to Nepal Era i.e. Baisakh Purnima which falls in April/May. Before giving birth to Gautama ( Lord Buddha), Queen Mahamaya had a magnificent dream. She dreamt that a magnificent elephant with 6 tusks descended from heaven accompanied by chorus of heavenly music and praises, signalling the mark of a great man.

As soon as he was born, he looked at all directions and took 7 steps towards the North and proclaimed the iconic words “Foremost am I in the world. Senior most am I in the world. Best am I in the world. This is my last birth. No more am I to be born”..Lord Buddha 

20150316_190210The best way for backpackers to reach Lumbini especially those who intended to go to the four spiritual places of Lord Buddha would be to start at Bodhgaya. From Bodhgaya to take a train to Varanasi and visit Sarnath (mentioned in my previous post). Then from Sarnath to Gorakhpur. Kushinagar where Buddha took his Parinirvana is about 2 hrs by bus but it is always better to go to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.

You can take a bus to Sunauli from Gorakhpur before you change at border to take another bus to Lumbini. Presently this route will be dangerous and so i suggest maybe a flight to Kathmandu and the a bus to Lumbini.

Lumbini among the four places is the most splendid and grandeur in design. Its

20150316_171643There are many monasteries inside Lumbini but there are few cheap accommodation outside Lumbini monastery compound and you can hire places for 300-500 Nepali Rs (NPR). 1 INR = 2NPR .

There are a few points to be noted before you enter Nepal.

First, no atm or debit card works especially of Indian banks. I had  a huge problem so it’s best you carry enough cash with yourself esp. INR or USD.( Side pic Mahamaya Temple)

Second, Lumbini monastery compound is huge and its always better to hire a cycle which you should be able to get at NPR 150-200 per day ( negotiable). There is a Korean monastery within Lumbini monastery area but I did not find the dormitory any good.

The main temple is the Venerable Mahamaya temple where Buddha was born and his first steps are 20150316_164931recorded by King Ashoka. Also the pool where Mahamaya took bath is also highly revered and respected and on the side is a Bodhi tree where people offer respects and incense sticks.

20150316_164244When you come inside the Lumbini complex, you have officially entered heaven. Its is one of the most splendid sights with trees all around surrounded by monasteries with an environment conducive for meditation, self awareness and mindfulness.  The temple has a small complex where you go inside and look through a small glass the first steps of baby Buddha. I remember I was trying to look down when an Asian young women came next to me and asked me if I could see the steps. She and myself again looked down and finally managed to locate the same. Middle Path sometime collaboration can be very useful in spiritual path including one with women. Hehe…as long as there is a comfortable distance.

The Dude above in front of pillar built by King Ashoka to commemorate birth of Buddha when he visited Lumbini. King Ashoka had made the region tax free in deference of respect for Lord Buddha. The temple has a pond as well as a Bodhi tree pic above. There is a beautiful garden in front of the temple with trees providing shade where you can go and meditate.

20150318_113952The whole of Lumbini complex is in the form of  a square which includes monasteries from every major country including Germany, a global peace pagoda, meditation centres and a museum.  i suggest the best way to travel within the Lumbini complex would be to hire cycles since the distances are huge.

There are beautiful monasteries teaching one of them trying to portray their splendor with regards to their culture and teachings of Buddha. I shall be attaching pics of some monasteries..The Chinese monastery20150318_111837 down below.. 20150318_112256Tried to stay in the chinese monastery but was politely refused. It only accommodates people from China. I tried to persuade them that I had done my MBA from CEIBS 20150318_112432but no one understood what I was saying.

The famous Korean Monastery undergoing renovation down below. The best part of some monasteries is that some of them are together while quiet a few are scattered around the whole place.   20150318_13311720150318_13352720150318_13533020150319_121349

20150318_145922At the very end of the Lumbini monastery, you find the Global Peace Pagoda ( side pic white pagoda) built by many countries chiefly among them Japan. I spend sometime here being mindful a
and spreading peace among all beings. Metta Bhavana also known as loving kindness20150318_150804ss is a compassion meditation taught by Buddha where you share your merits with beings from across all the 33 planes.

Will be discussed in my upcoming book..Stay Tuned..

I stayed for about 4 days I think in Lumbini and  travelled to the museum in sweltering 20150318_143625heat. With people from the museum in Lumbini. 20150318_145106 Down below with the guard. He helped me a lot..Nice guy. He was polite and courteous.

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20150318_083423I had a small personal adventure while I was in Lumbini. I really wanted to meet some monks and I had the god fortune when I met some Thai monks who had come to Lumbini. I had donated to a couple of monks and one of them called me to their monastery to an all night camp20150318_064151 of meditation and self awareness. I immediately agreed but soon realised that they used mosquito nets to mediate at night and that it would be held outside the premises of the monastery.  Although it was a wonderful experience, I literally froze in the spitting cold. I had free tea and coffee which was available to all the monks but wondered how did all of them manage to bear this every night during their stay in Lumbini. I had seen them in Sarnath also and I guess they were touring to all the major places of Lord Buddha. Above Thai monks linked up for the morning respects to Lumbini temple and Danna.

20150317_132743During my stay I was not aware that Indian debit cards d20150317_133352o not work in Nepal. So I had to go back to India to fetch money and it was quite an adventure changing Tuk Tuk since there was no direct bus back to India. It was a good adventure to observe and get a direct experience of frontier places especially what motivated and inspired them in their daily lives.

Looking back, I feel I should have spent more money instead of trying to save every penny I could. I remembered the days when I had worked in banks prior to my second MBA. I had lived like a king and wasted money on trivial things 20150318_111806I realised that when ever you go on a spiritual trip you must stay focussed on your job at hand. I had acted miserly since I had borrowed from my father but still I feel I should have been less frugal. That’s The Middle Path.. Spend where it is required especially when on a spiritual journey. I realised although I struggled to go from one place to another either by taking shared Tuk Tuk or by living in very cheap rooms, I was happy. I realised again the great words of Buddha..Misery lies within. I lived in the present and therefore I was less miserable. I had accepted my present condition, I ADAPTED to my condition by reinventing myself as a backpacker and innovated by living the life of a natural economist observing things around myself mindfully..i.e. tried to see when I saw, tried to hear when I heard, tried to eat while I ate…self awareness…coming up..

What is The Dude talking..Has he lost it..I am confused..Lets wait for his book.. 

Thanks to King Asoka for his everlasting deeds of making an cementing important place of Lord Buddha, thanks to UNESCO for preserving the site and thank you Nepal and Nepalese people for your wonderful donation of land for building the Lumbini Complex.. Thank You..Thank You..

Nepal has other great places to explore like Pokhara but I did not want to spend much due to my zero financial condition. However you can make  a plan to explore other places in Nepal.

The sad part of Lumbini is that almost every country has a monastery which is well and functioning except India. India has a monastery but it is not much to talk about. Amazing for  a country which owes so much to Lord Buddha..I am speechless and dumbfounded..The same I experienced in all the four major places of spiritual awakening of Lord Buddha i.e. Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Lumbini and Kushinagar.. Shame on the previous governments in India..Time for a petition..

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