Lumbini, situated in the plains of the beautiful Himalayan kingdom of Nepal was a pleasure garden that enticed Maya Devi to take rest (while enroute to her maternal home), thus becoming the place where she gave birth to Prince Siddhartha who would become the Buddha.
Mayadevi Temple and
the Sacred Pond
The Buddha is the world teacher of the path to peace and lasting happiness: a teaching which has been accepted and followed in the intervening centuries by millions of people in Asia and now in increasingly large numbers all over the world. During the past century Buddhist studies have been established in nearly all corners of the globe and interest in Buddhism whether on the part of devotees, scholars or ordinary citizens is steadily on the rise. According to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, the Buddha is said to have emphasized the importance of pilgrimage to this holy site. In this Sutta the Buddha had this to say about Lumbini:
The purpose of the institute is to help the visitors of Lumbini to get maximum spiritual benefit from their visit to this holy site and to help develop Lumbini as a World Peace Site by exemplifying the harmony of the Buddha’s teachings in the world. Another overarching purpose of the Institute is to fill the gap in the need that has been identified to provide visitors with: a comprehensive, integrated and coordinated means of Dhamma study, meditation practice, and pilgrimage; a general perspective of Buddhism as a whole; and the history and significance of Lumbini. Our helpful volunteers, free from motivations of religious conversion, will help with all kinds of questions, queries, research, and assist with seeking out other sites of historical and spiritual significance in the region.
“Ananda, Lumbini; where the Tathagata was born, is a place which should be visited and seen by a person of devotion and which would cause awareness and apprehension of the nature of impermanence. At this place, Ananda, who are on a pilgrimage to this shrine, if they should die with devotion in their hearts during the course of the pilgrimage, will after their death and dissolution of the body be reborn in a good destination, a fortunate celestial realm”.
Ashokan Inscription in Lumbini
mentioning: “Here the Buddha was born
The Development of the Lumbini Sacred Garden
Since the Buddha’s birthplace was re-discovered and new activities to revitalize this most sacred place have begun, Lumbini is again seeing a great number of people visit annually. Over half a million people visit this sacred site each year paying homage to the Buddha and seeking peace and spiritual solace in his teachings and the serene atmosphere found here.
It has recently become apparent that there is a great need in Lumbini to provide visitors with: a comprehensive, integrated and coordinated means of Dhamma study, meditation practice, and pilgrimage; a general perspective of Buddhism as a whole; and the history and significance of Lumbini.
Lumbini Master Plan
Within the past 30 years and since being named a World Peace Site, a Master Plan for Lumbini was developed and several temples and monasteries were constructed by organizations from around the world. This has been accompanied by an influx of practitioners and pilgrims; devoted worship and practice is revitalizing Lumbini. To date however, there is no co-ordinated approach to present all the facets of this spiritual site and provide an enriching and meaningful experience to the uninitiated who find themselves drawn here.
Being the Birthplace of the Buddha, Lumbini is an extremely sacred place. Great teachers have also regarded Lumbini as: “Fortunate to Behold!” Many devout followers visited the birthplace of the Buddha Shakyamuni to pay respect to this kind teacher and generate great spiritual benefit through the practices of meditation, chanting, circumambulation and offering lights, flowers, incense, etc. It wasn’t long before Lumbini changed into a great spiritual site drawing the attention of numerous devotees who built Stupas (structures) as an homage to their great master. A monastic site evolved around the sacred spot of the Buddha’s birth and Lumbini thrived as a Buddhist sacred site for centuries. The Buddha’s teachings continued to flourish throughout many kingdoms of Asia, but eventually dwindled here at the Buddha's birthplace. Gradually this centre of Dhamma disappeared from view. Lumbini was forgotten for centuries. What was once a famous pleasure grove was now left in isolation slowly turning into wilderness, losing its former grace and elegance.
Archeological Ruins in Lumbini
When re-discovered in 1896, it was difficult to recognize Lumbini as the same place where Prince Siddhartha was born. Fortunately the Ashokan pillar and the ruins of the monastery were there to proclaim the truth.