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LUMBINI

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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 122 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LUMBINI, the name of the garden or grove in which Gotama, the Buddha, was born. It is first mentioned in a very ancient Pali ballad preserved in the Sutta Nipata (verse 583). This is the Song of Nalaka (the Buddhist Simeon), and the words put in the mouth of the angels who announce the birth to him are: " The Wisdom-child, that jewel so precious, that cannot be matched, has been born at Lumbini, in the Sakiya land, for weal and for joy in the world of men." The commentaries on the Jalakas (i. 52, 54), and on a parallel passage in the Majjhima (J.R.A.S., 1895, p. 767), tell us that the mother of the future Buddha was on her way from Kapilavastu (Kapilavatthu), the capital of the Sakiyas, to her mother's home at Devadaha, the capital of the adjoining tribe, the Koliyas, to be confined there. Her pains came upon her on the way, and she turned aside into this grove, which lay not far from Devadaha, 'and gave birth there to her son. All later Buddhist accounts, whether Pali or Sanskrit, repeat the same story. A collection of legends about Asoka, included in the Divyavadana, a work composed probably in the 1st or 2nd century A.D., tells us (pp. 389, 390) how Asoka, the Buddhist emperor, visited the traditional site of this grove, under the guidance of Upagupta. This must have been about 248 B.C. Upagupta (Tissa: see PALI) himself also mentions the site in his Kalha Vatthu (p. 559). The Chinese pilgrims, Fa Hien and Hsuan Tsang, visiting India in the 5th and 7th centuries A.D., were shown the site; and the latter (ed. Watters, ii. 15-19) mentions that he saw there an Asoka pillar, with a horse on the top, which had been split, when Hsuan Tsang saw it, by lightning. This pillar was re-discovered under the following circumstances. The existence, a few miles beyond the Nepalese frontier, of an inscribed pillar had been known for some years when, in 1895, the discovery of another inscribed pillar at Nigliva, near by, led to the belief that this other, hitherto neglected, one must also be an Asoka pillar, and very probably the one mentioned by Hsuan Tsang. At the request of the Indian government the Nepalese government had the pillar, which was half - buried, excavated for examination; and Dr nihrer, then in the employ of the Archaeological Survey, arrived soon after-wards at the spot. The stone was split into two portions, apparently by lightning, and was inscribed with Pali characters as used in the time of Asoka. Squeezes of the inscription were sent to Europe, where various scholars discussed the meaning, which is as follows: " His Majesty, Piyadassi, came here in the Zest year of his reign and paid reverence. And on the ground that the Buddha,, the Sakiya sage, was born here, he (the king) had a flawless stone cut, and put up a pillar. And further, since the Exalted One was born in it, he reduced taxation in the village of Lumbini, and established the dues at one-eighth part (of the crop)." The inscription, having been buried for so many centuries beneath the soil, is in perfect preservation. The letters, about an inch in height, have been clearly and deeply cut in the stone. No one of them is doubtful. But two words are new, and scholars are not agreed in their interpretation of them. These are the adjective vigaJabhi applied to the stone, and rendered in our-translation " flawless "; and secondly, the last word, rendered in our translation " one-eighth part (of the crop)." Fortunately these words are of minor importance for the historical value of this priceless document. The date, the twenty-first year after the formal coronation of Asoka, would be 248 B.C. The name Piyadassi is the official epithet always used by Asoka in his inscriptions when speaking of himself. The inscription confirms in every respect the Buddhist story, and makes it certain that, at the time when it was put up, the tradition now handed down in the books was current at the spot. Any further inference that the birth really took place there is matter of probability on which opinions will differ. The grove is situate about 3 M. north of Bhagwanpur, the chief town of a district of the same name in the extreme south of Nepal, just over the frontier dividing Nepal from the district of Basti in British territory. It is now called Rummin-dei, i.e. the shrine of the goddess of Rummin, a name no doubt derived from the ancient name Lumbini. There is a small shrine at the spot, containing a bas-relief representing the birth of the Buddha. But the Buddha is now forgotten there, and the bas-relief is reverenced only for the figure of the mother, who has been turned into a tutelary deity of the place. Except so far as the excavation of the pillar is concerned the site has not been explored, and four small stupas there (already noticed by Hsuan Tsang) have not been opened. 429. See also ibid. (1895), pp. 751 ff.; (1897) pp. 615, 644; F1898) pp. 199-203; A. Barth in the Journal des savants (Paris, 1897) ; R. Pischel in Sitzungsberichteder konigl. preussischenAkademie for the 9th July 1903; Babu P. Mukherji, Report on a Tour of Exploration of the Antiquities in the Terai (Calcutta, 1903) ; V. A. Smith in Indian Antiquary (Bombay, 1905). (T. W. R. D.) LUMP-SUCKER, or Lum'-FISH (Cycloplerus lumpus), a marine fish,,which with another British genus (Liparis) and a few other genera forms a small family (Cyclopteridae). Like many littoral fishes of other families, the lump-suckers have the ventral fins united into a circular concave disk, which, acting as a sucker, enables them to attach themselves firmly to rocks or stones. The body (properly so called) is short and thick, with a thick and scaleless skin, covered with rough tubercles, the larger of which are arranged in four series along each side of the body. The first dorsal fin is almost entirely concealed by the skin, appearing merely as a lump on the back. The lump-sucker inhabits the coasts of both sides of the North Atlantic; it is not rare on the British coasts, but becomes more common farther north. It is so sluggish in its habits that individuals have been caught with sea-weed growing on their backs. In the spring the fish approaches the shores to spawn, clearing out a hollow on a stony bottom in which it deposits an immense quantity of pink-coloured ova. Fishermen assert that the male watches the spawn until the young are hatched, a statement which receives confirmation from the fact that the allied gobies, or at least some of them, take similar care of their progeny. The vernacular name, "cock and hen paddle," given to the lump-fish on some parts of the coast, is probably expressive of the difference between the two sexes in their outward appearance, the male being only half or one-third the size of the female, and assuming during the spawning season a bright blue coloration, with red on the lower parts. This fish is generally not esteemed as food, but Franz Faber (Fische Islands, p. 53) states that the Icelanders consider the flesh of the male as a delicacy.' The bones are so soft, and contain so little inorganic matter, that the old ichthyologists placed the lump-sucker among the cartilaginous fishes.
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