Controversy mars Buddha dates
KATHMANDU: The important dates in the Buddha’s life have been marred in controversies according to Prof. Dinesh Raj Panta, the author of the treatise “From the Buddha to Pahalman”. He said studies reveal that Buddha achieved Nirvana as early as 188 years before the traditionally acknowledged date for it.
While the present tradition dates the birth of the Buddha to 567 years prior to the Bikram Sambat year (BS), the Kala Chakra scripture copied in 1320 BS and the annotation of the Hebairaprakash scripture copied in 1329 BS confirms the date as 755 years before the Bikram Sambat year.
"At present we are following the tradition which says Buddha was born 487 years before the Bikram Sambat year. But if we calculate the time when the Buddha started propagating and the time he attained Nirvana as per the Kala Chakra scriptures, it comes that Buddha was born 675 years before BS which is 188 years from the tradition currently in use,” Panta clarified.
Historian Panta said the Buddha attained Nirvana 487 years before the Bikram Sambat year as per the annotation of the Kala Chakra scripture and the Hebairapraksh scripture, scripted in Maithali and Bhujimol respectively.
"All this shows that there are different opinions regarding the year in which the Buddha attained Nirvana. It is well-known fact that the Buddha attained enlightenment at the age of 80 years," Panta calculated.
He also conceded that there are different opinions regarding the month and the day of the Buddha’s birth.
Also, the tradition has been that the Buddha attained Nirvana on the full moon day of the month of Baisakh which is in agreement with the Kalachakra scripture copied in 1320 BS. However, the Hebajraprakash scripture copied in 1329 BS conflicts with this view, saying the right date of the Buddha’s attainment of the enlightenment is the eighth day of the waxing moon in the month of Baisakh.
Contrarily, the first calendar published in Nepal in 1941 BS says the Buddha attained enlightenment on the tenth day of the new moon in the month of Kattik, which is also the Buddha’s incarnation day. However, the incarnation date conflicts with some of the historical inscriptions and records written before the Nepali-published calendar as it mentions the tenth day of the waning moon in the month of Kattik as the day of Buddha's incarnation. Still the calendars published after that don’t agree with it as it marks the incarnation date on the tenth day of the waxing moon in the month of Aswin.
Pant, a noted figure in historical studies, said he had voiced the issue over the important dates in the life of the Buddha at the international seminar held in Lumbini some three decades back. He also underscored that the concerned agencies such as Ministry of Culture and State Restructuring and the Lumbini Development Trust should carry out thorough research on important dates in the Buddha’s life to clear existing doubts and controversies.