Preserve Sacred Buddhist Heritage Site

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Target: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Goal: Cancel plans for urban development at Lumbini, a historically sacred pilgrimage site in southern Nepal.

Famous for being the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, known more commonly as Buddha, Lumbini is an archaeologically rich and historically sacred site found in southern Nepal. It is one of the four major pilgrimage sites for the religion of Buddhism, as outlined by Buddha himself in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta. As it has been a central and defining site for as long as the religion has existed the site contains within it important archaeological evidence about the nature of the earliest Buddhist pilgrimages.

The pilgrimage aspect of the site has been emphasized ever since Japanese architect Kenzo Tange designed a master plan for the development of Lumbini in 1978. The plan included a buffer zone of twenty two square miles intended to support and preserve the serenity of Lumbini. This has led to the site being recognized in 1997 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its importance.

Unfortunately, this is all being threatened. The Government of Nepal and the Government of the Republic of Korea signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the preparation of the Lumbini World Peace City Preservation and Development plan. This plan intends to create a city within the pre-established buffer zone that would hold nearly 200,000 inhabitants. This has all been done without the consent of UNESCO’s World Heritage Center, which was never even contacted prior to the agreement.

Should this city be built it could subject the site to air, water, and noise pollution stemming from the existence of such a large nearby city. It would also become a gateway to an increasing emphasis on the future development of Lumbini as a population center. This redirects resources away from preservation and archaeology in favor of urban development and infrastructural maintenance. This is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to happen in such an important historical site. Sign the petition to protest destructive urban development in the area surrounding Lumbini.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,

As the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, known more commonly as Buddha, Lumbini is a historically sacred as well as archaeologically rich site found within southern Nepal. It is most notable for being one of the four major pilgrimage sites for the religion of Buddhism, as outlined by Buddha himself in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta. In addition, the site contains an array of important archaeological evidence about the nature of the earliest Buddhist pilgrimages. It is because of this that the site has been designed to emphasize and respect Buddhist pilgrimage under Japanese architect Kenzo Tange’s master plan for the development of Lumbini in 1978. This included within the plan a buffer zone of twenty two square miles intended to support and preserve the serenity of Lumbini. This has led to the site being recognized in 1997 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique importance.

It is unfortunate that the sanctity of the site might not be preserved. The Government of Nepal and the Government of the Republic of Korea signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the preparation of the Lumbini World Peace City Preservation and Development plan. This plan intends to create a city within the pre-established buffer zone that would hold nearly 200,000 inhabitants. This was all done without the consent of UNESCO’s World Heritage Center, which was never even contacted regarding the new plans.

This city, if it were to be built, would subject the area to air, water, and noise pollution that would completely alter the entire experience to any Buddhist pilgrims seeking out Lumbini. It would also become a gateway to a growing emphasis on the future development of Lumbini as a population center. This would draw resources away from preservation and archaeology, instead favoring urban development and infrastructural maintenance. This is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to happen anywhere near such an important historical site.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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138 Signatures

  • Eric von Borstel
  • Julia Amsler
  • Mal Gaff
  • sheila childs
  • joan walker
  • Marianne Oelman
  • marina cano
  • Holly Hall
  • Rebecca Williams
  • Hermann Kastner
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