The government plans to launch an investigation into an allegation that the birthplace of Lord Buddha is wrongly described in Korean textbooks.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) said Tuesday it will seek cooperation with relevant ministries, including the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, to confirm the claim.
This move comes one day after The Korea Times reported that Nepal’s Ambassador to Korea Kamal Prasad Koirala had sent a letter to President Lee Myung-bak, arguing that Buddha’s birthplace is in Nepal. Many Korean textbooks say the sacred place is in India, the ambassador said in the letter, calling on Lee to correct it.
“We plan to send a formal request to relevant ministries and study the case to determine whether the suggested correction is necessary,” a MOFAT official said.
In the four-page letter, Koirala said Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini and that Lumbini is a part of Nepal. He claimed the “erroneous information” is based on old British archives. The Lumbini is renown Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal.
“Many scholars mistakenly mention it following the old British archive. It seems many people are confused even today while referring to the birthplace of Buddha,’’ he said, citing the colonization of India by Britain as the main reason. “This mistake was done without any wrong motive.”
He said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has shown a keen interest in the development of Lumbini, as it is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. The ambassador also stated that even the British Museum changed the birthplace of Lord Buddha to Nepal on Nov. 7.