Have you ever failed an exam for giving all the right answers? The chances are, you have not. I first encountered this issue from a 7th grade geography bee when I asked to provide the birthplace of Buddha. Loud and proud to be a Nepali, I confidently look through the answer choices for an option marked “Lumbini, Nepal”, but to my surprise the closest option I find is “Northern
India”. Confused, I marched up to my teacher to let her know that the question was faulty for not containing the correct answer. The response provided by my teacher left be baffled, because she elaborated on how even though the “exact” response was not inclusive in the answer choices, “Northern India” is a “close enough” response to the birth place of an individual that has impacted the human condition in all spheres of life.
To establish the impact discussed, Buddha was a being that guided and still guides millions of adherents that were once solely committed to the life of materials onto his discovered realm of life where desires, suffering and attachments were left to pursue the eightfold path to nirvana. Whenever the word “enlightenment” is heard, a Westerner may think of philosophers and exponents as Descartes, Voltaire, Locke, Rousseau or even Newton and their contribution to the intellectual movements of the late 17th and 18th century Europe. However, from a broader perspective that has impacted not only a continent but the world, the word “enlightenment” often registers a mental picture of a poised, relaxed figure perched under a tree and solely concentrated on the abstracts of life. In other words, one likely thinks of Lord Buddha or more commonly known as “the Enlightened One”.
It is truly astonishing that the version of earth today that is built on intricate details and the need for articulated plans to explore the past and the future, permits the alteration of the truth behind the origin of such an influential individual. An ongoing concept to ponder in relation is the perceived superiority of India over Nepal. It is not old news that India has been involved in the process of artificially constructing the birthplace of Buddha in Piprahwa, India. At this point, it is not just a petty dispute over a simple landmark, but it is a matter of preserving Nepal’s national identity; it is a matter of Nepal establishing control over its own treasures rather than allowing bigger neighboring nations to take advantage of it. I ask, would it be acceptable to refer to the American White House as residing in “Southern Canada”?
The answer to that of the ever so patriotic Americans would be no, because why refer to Canada when the United States is an individual nation. When the same principles do not apply to all individuals and all nations, it becomes a matter of standing up against the double standards established on oppressed nations and people.
If it was not the dusk of yesterday, the midday of today or the dawn of tomorrow that we ought ourselves to look for the truth, then what was or is the time? Time of clarity passes as thousands of sets of textbooks with false information established on a firm foundation of injustice and double standards on the origin of the Lord is being provided to the future of our world. I have prompted myself to seek for the truth since the very first flicker of lie presented to me, when will you?
Allen High School –11