Lumbini’s development, government top priority: PM Dahal

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' has said the conservation of historic heritages that lie along the Greater Lumbini Area is the top priority of the incumbent government.

"The government continues to implement the greater Lumbini Master Plan for the holistic development of Lumbini," he said while addressing a special ceremony organized today in Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha commemorating the 2567th Buddha Jayanti. The approach of the Greater Lumbini development is for conserving the Lumbini, Kapilvastu, Devadaha, and Ramgrama, the sites of historic and archeological importance, relating to the Buddha, according to the Prime Minister.

As he said, the government has incorporated Lumbini in the project of national pride as it aspired to see the rapid development of Lumbini remaining as a common heritage of the entire humankind and a world heritage as well.

The Prime Minister went on to say that in 249 BC, emperor Ashoka built three pillars: one each at Lumbini, the birthplace of Shakyamuni Buddha, at Gotihawa, the birthplace of Krakuchhanda Buddha, and at Niglihawa, the birthplace of Kanakmuni Buddha. Inscriptions on such pillars, the memoirs of Chinese pilgrims and the historic objects collected from Lumbini were sufficient to say that these three Buddhas were born within in a distance of 30 kilometers in Rupandehi and Lumbini,

"Sacred relics of Shakyamuni Buddha being conserved in the stupa of Ramgram in Nawalparasi district has made the greater Lumbini being the land of Buddha. There is a pilgrimage from where the birthplace of Buddha can be reached by a one-hour walk. Such pilgrimage cannot be found in the world. So, it cannot be exaggerating to say that the greater Lumbini is the most significant Buddhist shrine," he said.

It is a matter of pride for Nepal and Nepali people that Buddha was born in Nepal, and his birth has not only contribute to promoting the country's international identity, but also helped explore unlimited opportunities through religious tourism, he said.

Stating that Lumbini carried indefinite potentialities for development, he said the government focus would be for tapping into such unexplored opportunities.

Stating that the Orientalism was being considered to be in the lead in the world development forum, he said, "We are both opulent and pride in view of eastern civilisation, philosophy and thoughts."

Saying that the Nepali philosophy including Kirat and the Buddhists philosophy talks about multiple dimensions about materialism, the law of motion, moral education and norms and value of people's life, he stressed the need for the Nepali Buddhist community to take special initiatives for the conservation, protection and development of the indigenous thoughts through its scientific research.

Ignoring our original philosophies and thoughts could not take the country on the path to philosophy, civilization and prosperity, he said. "There are no national boundaries between knowledge and philosophies. Knowledge and experiences taken by people in the world are our common properties and pride. We can take new initiatives in the sector of knowledge and sciences by conserving and developing our specialties and originalities."

Stating that Ashoka, the emperor of Mauryan dynasty, became Buddha's follower towards the second half of his life after he joined peace from war, he related this incident with the Maoist people's war.

As he said, significant changes in the Nepali society, and the peace process along with the establishment of federal democratic republic took place on the back of the people's war.

Also speaking on the occasion, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Sudan Kirati, illustrating the uniqueness of Lumbini, said that that no one in the world could replicate Lumbini.

Stating that there were many anomalies and vices in the Lumbini Development Trust, Minister Kirati said that Lumbini had both challenges and opportunities for its development.

According to him, the Nepal Airlines Corporation's aircrafts will operate its service from the Gautam Buddha International Airport at Bhairahawa from coming May 30, which, the Minister expressed his confidence, would contribute in promotion of tourism in Lubmini.

On a different note, he remarked that PM Dahal had responsibility to lead both peace and revolution.

Similarly, Lumbini Province Chief Minister Dilli Bahadur Chaudhary lamented that that although the concept of Lumbini Circuit was introduced, the project could not make headway. Hence, he urged the federal government to take forward project.

According to him, Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world could be attracted through the development of Buddha Circuit thereby supporting the economic prosperity for the Lumbini Province.

He was of the view that world's attention could be grabbed by building mediation centres in the Circuit and monthly organizing worship, rituals in places lying the Circuit.

He demanded that Rupandehi, Kapilvastu and Nawalparashi be declared the Peace Zone. The Chief Minister highlighted need for the amendment of the regulations and statute of the Lumbini Development Trust in such a manner that the provincial and local government could assume sense of ownership on it.

Echoing with CM Chaudhary, Vice-President of the Trust, Abadesh Tripathi aka Vikkhu Metteyya underscored development of integrated tourism by connecting Lumbini, Kapilvastu and Ramgrama.

Stating that there were estimated 4 billion Buddhist followers, he said that that traffic could be attracted to the Buddhist Circuit.

Shakyamuni Buddha was born to mother Mayadevi in a sacred and pure garden of Lumbini in 623 BC on the full moon day of Baisakh month in the lunar calendar. Buddha, the apostle of peace, is also regarded as the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

There is a coincidence that the Buddha was born, attained enlightenment, and attained Mahaparinirvana (passing away) on the same day, full moon day of Baisakh month.

Buddhists across the world including Nepal acknowledge this day as an important one and celebrate the day with great reverence, said Vikkhu Metteyya.

Source: National News Agency