[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Oldest Buddhist shrine found in Nepal

New research by archaeologists suggests Buddha might have lived two centuries earlier than previously thought.

Last updated: 26 Nov 2013 10:04
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
More than 500 million people follow Buddhism worldwide [EPA]

The discovery of a previously unknown wooden structure at Buddha's birthplace suggests the sage might have lived in the sixth century BC, two centuries earlier than thought, archeologists said.

Traces of what appears to have been an ancient timber shrine was found under a brick temple inside the sacred Maya Devi Temple at Lumbini, in southern Nepal near the Indian border. The traces were scientifically tested and confirm dating to the sixth century, archeologists said on Monday.

"This sheds light on a very very long debate" over when the Buddha was born and, in turn, when the faith that grew out of his teachings took root," archeologist Robin Coningham.

It's widely accepted that the Buddha was born beneath a hardwood sal tree at Lumbini as his mother Queen Maya Devi, the wife of a clan chief, was traveling to her father's kingdom to give birth.

But much of what is known about his life and time has its origins in oral tradition with little scientific evidence.

Lumbini, overgrown by jungle before its rediscovery in 1896, is today a UNESCO world heritage site, visited by millions of pilgrims every year. Buddhism has more than 500 million followers worldwide.

In a statement, UNESCO director general Irina Bokova called for "more archeological research, intensified conservation work and strengthened site management" at Lumbini as it attracts growing numbers of visitors.

226

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.