Presently, there are 32 Buddhist monasteries in Lumbini Master Plan Area; one is situated at New Lumbini Village, 29 at the Monastic Zone and two at the Sacred Garden. World Peace Pagoda of Japan is situated in the New Lumbini Village while Rajkiya Buddha Vihara, Nepal and Dharmaswami Maharaja Buddha Vihara, Nepal are in the Sacred Garden of Master Plan area. These Buddhist establishments in Lumbini organise religious and spiritual programs throughout the year where events are arranged on daily, occasional or annual basis. Every monastery in Lumbini has its own unique cultural traditions and architectural features that attract visitors to Lumbini from around the world.
Buddhist scriptures have their origin in the oral teachings and instructions of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha, therefore, they breath his spirit in essence. It is believed that he used Magadhi language in his preaching which were recorded in the palm leaf in Pali language later. Many inscriptions on the Buddhist shrines are also written in Pali language. It is believed that during the first Buddhist Council in Rajgri, two disciples of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha recited these teachings out of their memory; Upali recalled the entire Vinaya- pitaka and Ananda the Sutta-pitaka.
The Buddhist scriptures are broadly divided into Theravada and Mahayana canons. The Buddhist scriptures of Theravada school has categorized these sacred scriptures into three groups and called Tripitaka:
The most thorough and common version of Tripitaka is in Pali language, which is thought to be the words of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha and his major disciples, preserved in the oral tradition before they were written down in the first century BC.
The Mahayana Canon also consists of Tripitaka of disciplines, discourses and dharma analysis. It is believed that the Mahayana sutras have been recorded by unknown authors between the first century BC and the fifth century AD, and some even later than that. Some of these sutras are linked to the sermons of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha but many scholars consider these to be later interpretations having profound wisdom and spiritual values.
Today, Theravada (Teachings of the Elders) Buddhism is predominantly practiced in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos P. D. R., Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. Theravada school believes in the past Buddhas, Lord Sakaymuni Buddha and future Buddha or Maitreya. For Theravadins, the objective is attainment of self-enlightenment and becoming ideal Arhat or Arahant seeking personal nirvana for personal salvation. There are few rituals in using mantras (verses) and mudras (postures) and they use simple layout with image of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha for worship. Theravada is believed to have some influences from pre- Buddhism religions as it draws some references from Hindu scriptures. The Hindus also worship Lord Sakyamuni Buddha as the 9th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. There is only one major school of Theravada now, but it is said that there were as many as 18 different sects in the past. The Theravadin scriptures are strictly in Pali and local languages supplement Pali in Dharma teachings. It is estimated that around 35% of the Buddhists around the world practice Theravada school of Buddhism.
Mahayana (the Great Vehicle) Buddhism is the predominant form of Buddhism practiced in People’s Republic of China, Mongolia, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and Vietnam. Apart from Lord Sakyamuni Buddha, other contemporary Buddhas like Amitabha and Medicine Buddha are popular in Mahayana Buddhism. The Mahayana followers believe that the Buddha was the one who postponed his personal salvation until he could lead all sentient beings to nirvana, therefore, the Buddha was a teacher and a savior. It has been much influenced by local cultures and it puts more emphasis on the use of rituals and ceremonies. The Vajrayana sect of Mahayana Buddhism, which is mostly practiced in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan, meticulously follows tantric formalities, mantras and mudras. The worship can be quite elaborate with a hall for Lord Sakyamuni Buddha and two of his disciples and another hall for Lord Sakyamuni, Amitabh and Medicine Buddhas. In the course of transmission and adoption of Buddhism by the people of other civilizations, there were many mutual influences, for instance, between Buddhism and Confucianism and between Buddhism and Taoism in China. The original language of the Mahayana Canon was Sanskrit, which has been translated into the local languages such as Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese in the process of transmission. It is estimated that around 54% of Buddhists follow Mahayana school and 4% the Vajrayana sect.
There are five Theravada Buddhist monasteries and one Vipassana meditation centre in operation in the East Monastic Zone while, three monasteries are under construction. They are: 1) The Royal Thai Monastery, Thailand; 2) Canadian Engaged Buddhism Association (Bodhi Institute Monastery and Dharma Center) (under construction); 3) Mahabodhi Society Temple of India; 4) Nepal Theravada Buddha Vihar (under construction); 5) Cambodian Temple, Cambodia (under construction); 6) Myanmar Golden Temple, Myanmar; 7) International Gautami Nuns Temple, Nepal; 8) Sri Lankan Monastery, Sri Lanka and 9) Dhamma Janani Vipassana Center, Nepal.
14 Mahayana Buddhist monasteries and two meditation centres are in operation, while four monasteries are under construction in the West Monastic Zone. They are: 1) Ka-Nying Shedrup Monastery (Seto Gumba), Nepal (under construction); 2) Zarong Tgupten Mendol Dogna Chholing, Nepal (under construction); 3) Urgen Dorjee Chholing Buddhist Center, Singapore; 4) Nepal Vajrayana Maha Vihara, Nepal (under construction); 5) French Buddhist Association, France; 6) The Great Lotus Stupa (Tara Foundation), Germany; 7) Drigung Kagyud Meditation Center, Laddakh; 8) The World Linh Son Buddhist Congregation, France; 9) Japanese Monastery, Japan (under construction); 10) United Tungaram Buddhist Foundation, Nepal; 11) Thrangu Vajra Vidhya Buddhist Association, Canada; 12) Vietnam Phat Quoc Tu, Vietnam; 13) Geden International Monastery, Austria; 14) Chinese Monastery, China; 15) Dae Sung Shakya Temple, South Korea; 16) Drubgyud Chhoeling Monastery (Nepal Mahayana Temple); 17) Dharmodhaya Sabha Nepal (Swayambhu Mahavihara); 18) Karma Samtenling Monastery, Nepal; 19) Manang Samaj Stupa, Nepal; and 20) Pandirarama Lumbini International Meditation Center, Myanmar.