BUDDHA’S BETHLEHEM

Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba recently announced that an international team of archaeologists has uncovered the birthplace of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha. The site was buried under the Mayadevi temple in Lumbini, 200 miles southwest of Kathmandu. Archaeologists spent two years excavating the three-square-mile site which includes a platform of bricks with a large stone on it as well as the pond where, according to legend, Mayadevi bathed before giving birth to the historical Buddha 2,500 years ago. The platform itself dates from the era of Ashoka, who ruled the subcontinent (ca. 273—232 B.C.E.) and is said to have had a stone placed on bricks at the birthplace as well as a pillar that still stands. Deuba stated that “the discovery proves that Lord Buddha was born at this sacred place.” According to government officials, a group called Lumbini Development Trust will develop the site into a tourist attraction.

LIFE AFTER DEATH

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and his lookalike reincarnation, age three, Ugyen Tenzin Jigme Lhundrup. Courtesy Matthieu Richard.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and his lookalike reincarnation, age three, Ugyen Tenzin Jigme Lhundrup. Courtesy Matthieu Richard.

On December 29, 1995, Trulshik Rinpoche performed the hair-cutting ceremony at Maratika Cave in Nepal for the reincarnation of H. H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. The boy, who was given the name Ugyen Tenzin Jigme Lhundrup, was born on Padmasambhava’s birthday, the tenth day of the sixth month of the bird year (June 30, 1993). H. H. the Dalai Lama has confirmed the reincarnation. The boy’s enthronement will take place at Shechen Monastery in Nepal after two or three years. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was considered one of the leading masters of the pith-instructions of the Dzogchen teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. He died in 1991 at the age of 81, and was the reincarnation of Jamyang Khyentse the Great, one of the founders of the non-sectarian, or Rime, movement that arose in nineteenth-century Tibet.

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