Buddhism is one of the oldest religions in the world and currently there is an estimated of over 500 million Buddhists worldwide. It is not exactly clear in history when the Buddhist religion started. Much of Buddha’s life story was spread by way of oral tradition but there isn’t much physical evidence that have been found about the Buddhism religion. Archaeologists have been working in different places in Asia to try and uncover the truth about the religion. Now for the first time in history archaeologists have made an interesting discovery in Nepal of a supposedly Buddha’s birthplace which they say dates back to around the sixth century BC.
According to the research that was published in the Antiquity journal, a discovery of the remains of a structure made of timber which is almost the same size and shape of a temple that was built on the very site in the third century B.C. was made. The archeologists also think that a tree that grew at the center of the ancient structure could be proof of the traditional Buddhist story that Gautama Buddha’s mother gave birth to him while holding on to a tree. If the study is found out to be accurate, then the actual life of Buddha could have been related with the widely acknowledged timeframe of between 563-483 B.C.
There are four major locations that are believed to have connections with Buddha’s life. The Lumbini site in Nepal is believed to be one such place with Bodh Gaya said to be the place where he got enlightenment. It is said he first preached in Sarnath and died in Kusinagara. Lumbini is found between Nepal’s border with India deep inside the subtropical chain of forests, grasslands and marshes according to the study. Ancient documents from the Chinese who used to travel there reveal that pilgrims used to travel to Lumbini for several centuries. Lumbini was lost and pilgrims stopped going there in the 15th century but it is not clear why this happened. In 1896 Lumbini was rediscovered yet again and declared the place where Buddha was born due to a sandstone pillar that was found standing there dating from the third century BC. There is an inscription on the pillar that suggest that Emperor Ashoka made a visit of this place that is said to be the birth place of Buddha. There is one temple amongst the older temples that dates back to the third century B.C. during the times of Emperor Ashoka.
The Earliest Buddhist Shrine
Just under the remains of the Ashokan temple, archeologists were able to find several postholes where there were rotten timber posts. The archaeologists say that their excavations revealed to them that the very earliest construction in Lumbini seems to have comprised a fence made of timber. The center portion of the ancient temple showed signs of having housed a tree according to the discovery of large remains of mineralized tree roots in the temple. Archeologists say that the particular portion of the temple was never covered by any roof.