Buddha born in Orissa?

#1 Aug 1st, 2002, 15:57
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Buddha was born in Orissa, says study


IANS [ THURSDAY, AUGUST 01, 2002 10:30:38 AM ]

BHUBANESWAR: Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism who attained enlightenment 2,500 years ago, was born not in Nepal but in Orissa, researchers here claim.

The Buddha, they say, was born at a village that was earlier known as Lumbini near Kapileswar village on the outskirts of this city and not at the famous Lumbini in Nepal, noted archaeologist Chandrabhanu Patel says.
Patel, who is also head of the Orissa Museum, bases his claim on the findings of a research team led by him that examined rocks, inscriptions and other materials found in excavations.

Orissa has a host of ancient Buddhist sites, including Ratnagiri, Udaygiri, Lalitgiri, Kuruma, Brahmavana, Langudi and Ganiapali.
Excavators have found large domes, monasteries, sculptures and other objects of archaeological importance at these sites. The team's finding is based on research carried out at these venues.

Kalinga, as Orissa was known in that period, formed an important geographical niche between northern and southern India and maintained close trade and cultural ties with Myanmar, Sri Lanka and other Indian Ocean islands.

The turning point in Buddhist history came with Emperor Asoka's conquest of Kalinga in 261 B.C. The emperor, who later converted to Buddhism, is said to have sent his children to propagate Buddhism in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.
A stone pillar inscription of Asoka discovered at Kapileswar in 1928 and now in Ashutosh Museum at Kolkata points to the Buddha's birthplace being in Orissa, Patel said.


"Our scholars who read and deciphered the inscription found that it carries six lines in Prakrit language and Asokan Brahami script that say that in the 20th year of his coronation Asoka worshipped at Kapileswar as Lord Buddha was born here," Patel said.

While historians say that Buddha was born at Lumbini in Nepal, Patel said, a village near Kapileswar named Lembei could well be his birthplace. The ancient name of this village was Lumbini, he claimed.

The inscription says that Asoka exempted Lumbini village from all taxes in 240 B.C. because the Buddha was born there, Patel claimed.

A broken portion of Ashoka pillar nine feet high and 12 feet in girth was found in the Bhaskareswar temple located four kilometres from Kapileswar. Broken bells and replicas of Asoka's famous four-lion emblem recovered from these areas are also currently at the state museum, he said.

Legend has it that the Buddha entered his mother's womb as a white elephant. At Dhauli, seven kilometres from Kapileswar, Ashoka carved out the statue of an elephant along with his edict.
Patel said researchers also found four sculptures of Ashoka in Kapileswar temple premises representing four stages of his transformation from a king to a sage.

Patel discounted the ancient inscriptions in Nepal identifying that kingdom as the Buddha's birthplace. He said Asoka had not installed those inscriptions.

Patel claimed the Buddha's relics in gilded stone caskets were found during an excavation at Lalitgiri in Orissa's Jajpur district in 1985.

Archaeologists had said the stone casket contains the ashes of the Buddha, who was cremated when he attained Nirvana at the age of 80.

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