Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lumbini (birthplace of the Buddha) to Tansen\Palpa

playing with the village children in Lumbini :)

this is the exact birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha.  from what i've read this place had long been forgotten until a British man lead an expedition here in the early to mid 1900's.  upon his rigid search he found columns left behind by an Indian king named Ashoka who first recognized lumbini as the true birthplace of the buddha.  as the story has ben told, Siddhartha never left his palace of earthly pleasures until he was 29 when he escaped three times behind the palace walls.  he encountered a sick man, an old man and eventually a dead man on his third escape.  this was what fueled Siddhartha to endlessly search for the cause of and solution to human suffering.  Lumbini was only the beginning.       

Siddhartha Gautama left behind his wife and child as well as his heir to a great throne.  it is believed that he never actually returned to Lumbini.  not long after his enlightenment, the buddha received news that his hometown has been destroyed.  it is said that he never flinched upon hearing the news.

as a newborn it was said that Siddhartha immediately came to his feet and walked to the pond near the famous Bodhi tree he was born under.  these are said to be his footprints.

this is the famous Bodhi tree under which Siddhartha Gautama was born.  it is believed that his mother was visited by a strange dream of an elephant and she later had her dream interpreted by a fortune teller.  the teller informed the mother of Siddhartha that her son would either rise to become a great king upon which he would rule this area like an emperor uniting many kingdoms, or he would become a holy man.  if Siddhartha were to chose the path of holy man the fate of Lumbini would forever be sealed as the great kind would have never risen to power.

there isn't much here.  several monasteries have been built and destroyed over the early parts of the 1st and 2nd centuries ad however historical Lumbini was left in ruins to return to nature by the time the British had rediscovered it.  

the condition of this place is a little sad but not too suprising.  buddhism is a religion of humility and upon visiting Lumbini it is not hard to imagine the conditions upon which Siddhartha was sheltered from.  he must have seen great suffering in his wanders and i can't say that its hard to believe after seeing some of the ways people live out here.  however there is love and there is always love and there will always be love.

this is the famous inscription on the pillar left behind from King Ashoka declaring this to be the true birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama.

i really wish this picture came out better.  i was humbled by the beauty of this little girl and her beautiful family.

we traveled to an area once known as Tansen, which was actually the name of an old kingdom that later integrated within Nepal.  the once capital city is now called Palpa by the locals and we were fortunate to pay a visit to this beautiful village 1300m up in the clouds.  

Palpa was really enjoyable.  the people there aren't really used to foreigners and it was one of those experiences where you truly feel as if you are a million miles from home.  we found these really great temples overrun with trees and some really beautiful paths leading endlessly into oblivion.  the people were super friendly and once you begin eating they will never allow your plate to be empty.  daal bhat.  love it.



St. Peter :)

me and scarlet pinto

and finally some views from the road.  you could get lost in the scenery and watch hours pass by as your thoughts turn into colorful paintings in your head.  please come to Nepal one day, you wont be the same when you leave :)

i'm back in Pokhara now, eating Nepali Thali and watching the massive dramatic changes in nature all around me.  i'm well, happy and peaceful and so are my traveling friends.  dont really know where i'll end up next... maybe Bandipur.