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Dear Colleagues, Regarding the recent report from Lumbini, mentioned by Matthew Kapstein, as one might expect, the facts do not bear out the hype. I read the article in question yesterday (before the embargo was lifted) because a journalist contacted me about it (you can read about it in the Volkskrant if you read Dutch...), but when Matthew and others read the article, what will be evident is that what has been found is wood beneath the Asokan layer. There is *no* indication that the wood is connected with the Buddha in any way shape or form. It is logical to think that a tree shrine on the spot considered to be the birthplace of the Buddha could easily have predated anything about Buddhism--of course, the tree selected as "the tree" under which the Buddha was born should be a sacred tree, hence it had a shrine associated with it. And in fact, except for a single--I would say incautious--sentence, the article basically says this. I'm sure it will be spun for all it's worth, but there's nothing there, except perhaps (and even this is not 100% clear) some evidence that, despite an earlier botched excavation by a Japanese team (which, the authors imply, threw away valuable evidence), the traditional spot rebuilt by Asoka had earlier a wooden structure upon it. What that structure may have been, and whether it could conceivably have had any connection with the Buddha--no evidence at all! Jonathan -- J. Silk Instituut Kern / Universiteit Leiden Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, LIAS Johan Huizinga Building, Room 1.37 Doelensteeg 16 2311 VL Leiden The Netherlands copies of my publications may be found at http://www.buddhismandsocialjustice.com/silk_publications.html ---------------------------------------------- H-Buddhism (Buddhist Scholars Information Network) Web Site: http://www.h-net.org/~buddhism Posting Guidelines: http://www.h-net.org/~buddhism/posting_guidelines.html Account Handling: http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-buddhism Bibliography Project: https://www.zotero.org/groups/h-buddhism_bibliography_project/items H-Net Job Guide: https://www.h-net.org/jobs/home.php --