Shankar Lal Chaudhary, M.Sc.Ag. (Soils), Ph.D. (Buddhist Studies),and B.L. (Law), born on 6th February, 1949 A.D., at Kanchira Saptary, is Ex-Secretary / Regional Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Nepal. He served the nation for more than 35 years as an employee in the ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Home Affairs as well. He worked at various capacities as Director General, Department of Agriculture, Director of Soil, Program Manager, DFID, Country Director of MARD-Chemonics / USAID of Rapti,Gadaki, Lumbini and Very Zones and also as CADO, of Dang district. He also worked as Chief of soils and Farm Manger of National Rice Improvement Program (NRIP), Parwanipur, Bara, Chief of Regional Soils, Eastern Development Region, Biratnagar. He was involved in several national and international Organizations, e.g. GTZ, USAID, FAO, JICA, SDC, ICIMOD, World Bank, ADB, DFID And SSMP DANIDA, etc. He has written a dozen of books about agriculture, soils and social sciences. He has published more than a dozen of scientific articles in national and international Journals and Proceedings. He has also published more than two dozen of articles about Agriculture and social sciences in English magazines and news and also more than five dozen of articles in Nepalland local languages. He has published more than two hundred booklets and leaflets in English, Nepali, Hindi and local languages. He participated in various National and International seminar, symposium conferences,meeting, training and observation and visited, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Philippines, Hong-Kong, Dubai, Doha, England, Germany, Norway Netherland, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Switzerland, Mexico and U.S.A. during his tenure and afterwards.
He was decorated with Coronation Medal, 2031, B.S.and Suprabal Gorkha Dakshina Bahu III, 2057 B.S. (2000, A.D.) He has got many felicitations from, Tharu Sansakrity Kalamandir, Kathmandu, 2061, B.S. (2004, A.D.) Best Project Director, MARD/USAID, 2055-56, B.S. (1998-99, A.D.) A letter of appreciation was awarded for the best paper presentation on Archaeological significance of Kapilavastu by Dharma Academic Centre, Chakupat, Lalitpur 2068, B.S. (2011, A.D.) Samman Karyakarma by Tharu Welfare Society, Saptary, 2063-64, B.S. (2006-7, A.D.)
He is life member of Dharmodaya Sabha, Vrikutimandap, Kathmandu, Life member of Tharu Welfare Society, Kathmandu and also member of national and international scientific societies of Nepal, India. SAARC countries (APPSC) and Neo Botanic convention,Patna,India, Thailand and U.S.A. Life member of Haryana Agriculture University, Allumina Association, Kathmandu, Member of Agricultural University Udaipur, Allumina, Kathmandu, Advisor of Saptary Sewa samaj, Kathmandu, Patron of Everest Development Forum,Kanchira, Saptary Nepal and Namaste Kiel, Germany. Advisor of Late Minister Prabhunarayan Chaudhary Pratisthan, Kathmandu, 2067, B.S. (2010, A.D.) He is also an expert and advisor in Unique International Education Foundation, Dillibazar, Kathmandu, for masters and Ph.D. scholars, also involved in Teaching Master Degree in Buddhist Degree Colleges of L.B.U. Advisor of Nepal-India, Awadha Maitri Samaja, 2070, B.S. (2013, A.D.).
Besides this, as a pilgrim he has visited all the four Holy places (Chardham) of Lord Buddha, Lumbini the Birthplace, Gaya the place for Enlightenment, Isipatan Sarnath Kasi Varanasi, the place his first sermon to the five mendicants and Kusinagara the place of Mahaparinirvana.
He has also visited Buddhist places for his study like Kaling near Bhubaneswar and Jaganathpuri temple in Orisa, Rajagriha, Nalanda University,Sariputra Caitya at Nalanda and palace of emperor Asoka at Kumrahar in old city Pataliputra(Patna),Bihar as mentioned by FaHien in 5th century seeing the palace of Asoka said that it was not built by an ordinary person but by some brave and wonderful Anarya ruler.
He gathered and incorporated very valuable documents from those places before completion of his book for significant and comprehensive study.
Socio-economic condition of ancient Kapilavastu (Tilaurakot), investigates the period 2600 years ago and this type of study being the first of its kind it is very essential to study, in the present context, the social and economic condition of any country which are the backbone of its development so far in Nepal. It highlights the significant changes in socio-economic conditions after enlightenment of Buddha due to increased levels of skills, craftsmanship and professionalization.
Buddhist study now - a days is considered as one of the most prestigious and respectful studies in the modern and scientific world. Buddhist way of life and Buddhist economy has become a great attraction in the new growing society .In well-developed society there is enough goods and services. People feel happy and enjoy the modern facilities for some time but after a certain period of time they seem to be tired and exhausted due to modern physical clumsy life .So Buddhist way of life has become increasingly palatable and popular due to its simplicity, lesser needs and more sustainable. Evidences available during Buddha's time show that Artisans were almost engaged in trade and other works.
People were either engaged in agriculture and in some sorts of craftsmanship. SiIpas/skills and craftsmanship were considered the most respectful professionals during Buddha's time. People had better social and economic life. Everybody had learnt some sorts of skills and craftsmanship for his livelihood. Even Buddha had to undergo to learn some sorts of skills before marriage. There were many sorts of skills/silpas available for all classes of people. There was no discrimination for learning any skills.
Everybody was equal in his eye irrespective of caste, color and birth. Even some Sudras got better status than the Sakya princes in the same Sangha. Bhikshus and Nuns were also trained in compulsory skills and crafts for their Chivars for their independent living and livelihood. Rich and poor all had to learn some skills/ silpas for their livelihood. No room was left for it. That is why country of Kapilavastu was most prosperous.
Kapilavastu was well developed big town, and there were ten nigamas or Janapads in the Sakya country. Similarly Ramagrama or Devadaha had six Janapads. Due to surplus agricultural commodities and agricultural tools, they used to export outside the country. For trade and commerce various types of coins were available of different periods including the coins of Sakya dynasty. All these evidences prove that the country of Sakya was happy and prosperous.
Kapilavastu was full of archaeological monuments. Kapilavastu being the place of three human Buddhas, where, Krakucchanda, Kanakamuni and Sakya Muni Buddhas were born. Kapilavastu, Rupandehi and Nawalparasi districts of western Terai development region are rich in archaeological monuments. Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha located in Rupandehi district and Ramagrama Stupa in Nawalparasi district where still the relics of Lord Buddha preserved and unexcavated. People of this place are proud of being adherent of Buddhism and are inspired by the noble teachings of Lord Buddha. Although there was another religion like Hindus and Jainism and there was some conflict and competition also among them but due to pragmatic teachings of Lord Buddha and language spoken like Magadhi easily understandable by the ordinary people attracted the common masses. Lord Buddha never dictated his teachings and instructions. His teaching "Attanohiattanaath, means you are your own master". He never created his successor after him as in other religions. He advocated that who so ever will train himself and being capable of virtue of his works will lead the Sangho.
The social and economic life of Kapilavastu was much better in the then Lord Buddha's' time. The Vihars were the centre of teaching. There were no regular colleges and universities. The discipline was well maintained either in the Sangha or in Vihars. The Buddhist study had played a great role for perpetual peace in the society especially in the area of social and economic life of the people at large. A comprehensive study of socio-economic life of ancient Kapilavastu (Tilaurakot) has become the need of the day. The author of this work has tried his level best to write socio-economic condition of ancient Kapilavastu (Tilaurakot) on the basis of Pali Buddhist texts. This study is related with many areas especially history, culture, education, polity, religion, archaeology, socio-economic condition of the then Buddha's time.
My previous work in the ministry of Agriculture led to my interest in the role that the Lord Buddha played in enhancing the well-being of the Nepalese people. I have been inspired by the enlightenment of Lord Buddha which greatly changed the socio-economic life of the people in the then deteriorating society.
I would like to express my deep sense of gratitude to the respected Supervisor Prof. Dr. Tri Ratna Manandhar, former Vice Chancellor of Lumbini Buddhist University, Kathmandu, for his sincere guidance, constructive suggestion, constant encouragement, inspiration, and especially creating in me the spirit of independent thinking to complete this dissertation leading to a Ph.D. degree.
Likewise, I owe my profound thanks to Internal Supervisor Prof. Dr.Tulasi Ram Vaidya, former Vice Chancellor of Lumbini Buddhist University Kathmandu, for his meticulous guidance, inspiration, regular suggestion, encouragement and warm affection during my research work.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to Dr. P.L. Yadav, former Registrar Lumbini Buddhist University for his constant encouragement and guidance. I am very grateful to Dr. Bhadra Ratna Bajracharya, Dean Lumbini Buddhist University, Kathmandu for his pragmatic suggestion, guidance and encouragement.
I am grateful to Prof. Dr. K. M. Shrestha, former Registrar Lumbini Buddhist University Kathmandu for his sincere suggestion and guidance. I am also thankful to Prof. Dr. Shanker Thapa, former Dean Lumbini Buddhist University Katmandu for his suggestion and encouragement. I express my sincere gratitude to Prof.Dr.Mohan Prasad Lohani, former Head of the Central Department of English, T.U., Kirtipur,Kathmandu and former Ambassador to Bangladesh, for taking pain in editing the text of this work.
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