IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Nepal, India in war of words over Buddha’s origins  

10th August, 2020 Culture

Context: India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar described the founder of Buddhism as one of the greatest Indians ever. The controversy erupted after Mr. Jaishankar, during an interaction with the Confederation of Indian Industries, referred to Buddha while discussing India’s soft power.


Life of Buddha:

  • The Buddha (also known as Siddhartha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama) was a philosopher, mendicant, meditator, spiritual teacher and religious leader who lived in Ancient India (5th to 4th century BCE).
  • He is revered as the founder of the world religion of Buddhism.
  • Gautama was born in Lumbini, now in modern-day Nepal, and raised in Kapilvastu, which may have been either in what is present-day Tilaurakot, Nepal or Piprahwa, India.
  • According to Buddhist tradition, he obtained his enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, gave his first sermon in Sarnath, and died in Kushinagar.
  • No written records about Gautama were found from his lifetime or from the one or two centuries thereafter.
  • However, from the middle of the 3rd century BCE, several Edicts of Ashoka (reigned c. 269–232 BCE) mention the Buddha, and particularly Ashoka's Lumbini pillar inscription commemorates the Emperor's pilgrimage to Lumbini as the Buddha's birthplace, calling him the Buddha Shakyamuni.