Lumbini Shrine

Recently, there has been some really interesting news report on a newly discovered shrine in Lumbini.
It is indeed a very interesting find and can maybe add some new information on the ongoing academic debate about the date of the Buddha.
See here for the reports:
News report on the Lumbini shrine
Further report in the New York Times

It is of course fascinating to hear that there was an even older temple underneath the temple that is said to commemorate the Buddha's birth, and that the older structure might stem from the 6th century. The shrine centers around the remains of a tree, and one might be tempted to think that it stood for the tree (or even was the very tree) that the Buddha's mother held onto while giving birth to Prince Siddhartha.

Still, it it seems that so far no art historians and buddhologists were involved. It will be really interesting to hear what they will have to say about the temple and whether it can really be identified beyond any doubt as Buddhist. History is full of cases where temples of religious traditions are later on appropriated by other traditions and the worship of trees has a long history in India.

After all, it wasn't so long ago that news were full of a Nazi Buddha from outer space. Again, without properly involving art historians and tibetologists in the analysis of the find, premature conclusions were being drawn and soon after it became obvious that it had just been a fake. See guardian news reportSee also here.

Be it as it may, it is a really remarkable find in any case...

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