Pictures from Lumbini 

-Paolo Singer, MAPREP student from United States

In January 2024 between school semesters, I had a special opportunity to visit Lumbini, Nepal. Lumbini is where the Buddha was born to Queen Mahadevi in 623 BCE. The Mahadevi Temple houses the precise location where it is said that the Buddha was born. The temple is surrounded by archeological remains including a pillar built and inscribed by Emperor Ashoka in 249 BC. Further out is a network of monasteries from many countries around the world.  

Pictured: Mahadevi Temple with Ashoka’s Pillar visible on the left.  

Outside the gated area surrounding the Mahadevi Temple, and on the way to the monastery complex, is a peace flame that was lit in 1986. Behind the peace flame is a long waterway that one can walk alongside or even travel by small boat.  

Pictured: Peace Flame in Lumbini 

The United Nations Development Programme helped to fund the development of Lumbini in 1971, and recognized it as a World Heritage Site in 1997.  

Pictured: A plaque declaring Lumbini a World Heritage Site. It states, “Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, has been inscribed on the World Heritage list. This heritage site is of exceptional universal value which deserves protection for the benefit of humanity.”  

Several U.N. Secretary-Generals have visited Lumbini over the past decades recognizing its relevance to world peace.  Most recently, in 2023 U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres made a speech from Lumbini where he shared, “Across the ages, Lord Buddha’s message of compassion, non-violence and interdependence calls to us all, and inspires us all – reminding us of our common humanity and the connectedness of all things.”  

During my visit I stayed at the Korean Monastery, which had dormitory beds for pilgrims and provided a peaceful environment conducive to contemplation. I encourage anyone interested in reflecting on the Buddha’s life and teachings to visit Lumbini if they have an opportunity.  

Pictured: Mahadevi Temple surrounded by archeological remains 

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