History of the Center
We practice meditation to contribute to peace in the world. With this objective in mind the Ven. Sayadaw U Panditabhivamsa of Myanmar in co-operation with the Ven. Sayadaw U Asabhacara set up Panditarama Lumbini International Vipassana Meditation Center.
The meditation center was inaugurated on February 7, 1999. Since then, with the help of generous donations, three triplets for the accommodation of long-term meditators were added, several gardens were created and the general facilities improved.
The number of meditators has gradually increased to 167 meditators from 32 different countries in 2007 many of which are highly committed to the practice and stay for extended periods of time.
The meditation center encourages long-term meditation practice.
A Short History of Lumbini
Surrounded by lush gardens, ponds, light forests, wetlands and rivers lies the Sacred Garden of Lumbini. Located in the Nepalese Terai and bordering India, Lumbini is a place with a significant past and splendid future.
Siddhattha Gautama who later became known as the Enlightened One (Buddha) was born here in the 7th century B.C. After gaining supreme enlightenment in Bodh Gaya he taught the Dhamma of freedom from suffering for 45 years. Shortly before his great passing away (maha parinibbana) he spoke to his disciple Ananda as follows :
There are four places the sight of which should arouse a sense of urgency in the faithful. Here the Tathagata was born (Lumbini). Here the Tathagata attained supreme enlightenment (Bodh Gaya). Here the Tathagata set in motion the Wheel of Dhamma (Sarnath). Here the Tathagata entered maha parinibbana (Kusinagar).
And, Ananda, the faithful monks and nuns, male and female lay-followers will visit those places. And any who die while making the pilgrimage to these shrines with a devout heart will, at the breaking-up of the body after death, be reborn in a heavenly world.
DN16, adapted translation by M. Walshe
Hence Lumbini's importance for Buddhists and peace-seeking people.
Emperor Ashoka paid an imperial visit to Lumbini in 249 B.C. and had the birthplace of the Buddha marked by erecting a stone pillar with an edict engraved on it. Among the pilgrims who visited Lumbini in the past were the Chinese pilgrims Fa-Hsien (403 A.D.), Hiuen Tsiang (636 A.D.) and King Ripu Malla of West Nepal (1312 A.D.). Later on Lumbini fell into oblivion. General Khadga Sunshere JB Rana and Dr. A. Fuehrer rediscovered it in 1896.
In 1956 the late King Mahendra initiated the development of Lumbini by providing an access road, a monastery and a pillar. Upon seeing the deplorable state of Lumbini in 1967 the then Secretary General of the United Nations U Thant entreated King Mahendra to allow the development of Lumbini as an international place for pilgrimage.
With King Mahindra's consent the Lumbini Development Committee (LDC) was formed at the United Nations in 1970. LDC commissioned the design of a master plan for Lumbini. The United Nations and HMG Nepal approved Prof. Kenzo Tange's Master Plan in 1978. According to this plan, the circular levee, the central canal, roads, drainage, bridges, and the planting of trees were carried out.
Lumbini - World Heritage Site
Lumbini has been designated as a World Heritage Site in 1997.
Lumbini is part of The UNESCO World Heritage List which has almost 900 sites of cultural and natural heritage of outstanding universal value across the world. It is important to recognize, protect and preserve this ancient Buddhist monetary for future generations and ensure that this site (along with other Buddhist sites) will be properly maintained and managed.
Panditarama Lumbini International Vipassana Meditation Center (PLIVMC) is committed to this goal. PLIVMC, along with other monasteries, works with Lumbini Development Trust for the purposes of restoring the Lumbini Garden under "The Master Plan". The Master Plan is a multi-year plan to develop the following three areas of Lumbini Garden:
- The Sacred Garden. The focal point of Lumbini Garden. It symbolizes the birthplace of the Lord Buddha who was born at this place at 642 BC. Its form is a circle enclosing squares, a universal symbol of purity and simplicity. In 249 BC, Emperor Ashoka visited Lumbini and constructed a 10 meter pillar.
- The Cultural Centre/Monastic Zone. This includes the Lumbini Museum, Auditorium and Library & Research Institution complex. As well, the Monastic Zone currently has over 30 monasteries and meditation centers from the Mahayana and Theravada schools of Buddhism. The central link being the canal in the center with the eternal flame at one end.
- New Lumbini Village. This is at the entrance for visitors. It has tourist information, orientation facilities, as well as restaurants, telephones, a bank, etc.
The Lumbini Garden Master Plan is developed by the Lumbini Development Trust.