Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
Mr. Mitsuaki Kojima; He has served as the Ambassador of Japan to Nepal and Ambassador to Luxembourg, and at present he is a policy essayist on global and domestic issues and also the president of the Japan Nepal Society. He conducted his own research on Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha and Kapilavastu where he grew up, and wrote of his achievement in his book “The Mystery over Lord Buddha’s Roots” (English edition by Nirala Publications).This time Mr. Mitsuaki Kojima specially ontributed his column for us.
Traveling the Hometown of Lord Buddha in Nepal
─ Mitsuaki Kojima
Lord Buddha, respectfully called Shakya Muni, naming after the tribe’s name Shakya, was born as a prince of King Suddhodana and Queen Mayadevi, and named Prince Siddhartha （family name Gautama） in Lumbini, southwestern part of Nepal in 6th or 5th Century B.C.Queen Mayadevi felt the laboring pain in Lumbini on the way to Kolya Kingdom, her hometown, and gave birth to a baby, Prince Siddhartha, there. She went back to Castle Kapilavastu, but, sadly enough seven days after, she passed away. Prince Siddhartha was raised at the Castle until he became 29 years old, and he left the Kapila Castle at that age in search of enlightenment. Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment at Bodh Gaya in Magada Kingdom （present Bihar Provimce）, and became Buddha （the one who attained enlightenment） and the founder of Buddhism.About 80% of the population in Nepal believe in Hinduism and a little bit over 1 0 % believe in Buddhism. Why, then, Hinduism become more popular in Nepal than Buddhism? The origin of Hinduism, which is believed in by a good majority of people in Indian sub-Continent, is not clear. It is known that European people started calling the indigenous inhabitants east of the Indus River as Hindus and naming the tribal gods they believed in as Hinduism. Hinduism is pantheism and so named as a general term grouping the gods and protégés which each tribe believed in. Therefore in some instance, Buddhism is also thought to be one of such gods under Hinduism. Historically, however, there existed Brahmanism as a systematic teaching or belief in ancient time, while worship for the tribal gods seems to exist from the ancient time, such tribal gods became popular and popular among the people as somewhat systematic pantheism, as Buddhism emerged and spread in the rapidly changing society.We may be able to sense the big social change and the historical background in that period if we travel the motherland of Lord Buddha.