Half-Day worth visiting in Kathmandu: Peaceful Tibetan Chanting


Boudhanath Stupa, the great white stupa at Boudhanath, locate 7km from Kathmandu.

It is Half-Day worth destination in Kathmandu to feel peace Vibration of Tibetans life, chanting and praying. This place is sacred. The heart of pilgrimage and meditation for Tibetan Buddhists and local Nepalis.

Boudhanath Stupa, the great white stupa at Boudhanath
Boudhanath Stupa, the great white stupa at Boudhanath

Since morning, Tibetans monks, circling, doing “Kora” and murmur of a chant “Om Mani Padme Hum”, means ‘Greetings to the Gem in the Lotus River,’.

“kora” means circumambulating in a clockwise direction An image, relic, shrine, or other sacred object. “kora” are a monumental part of Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

They believe that whoever doing “Kora” and circumambulates at the Great Stupa with a pure heart,

they will create good karma and as a result is fulfillment of all their wishes.

Many peoples from generations, meditators, devotees, practitioners and yogis worship with great devotion to Buddha for protection, purification, blessings, granting of wishes and miracles at Boudhanath Stupa.

It’s become an integral part of any Tibetan Buddhist’s life.

Lotus symbolize enlightenment like Buddha himself and Bodhisattva.

The beautiful lotus growing without becoming dirty. This is the precious, beautiful lesson for me to learn and remember to have a beautiful soul as a human.

There are four sides on the Stupa, on each side are the all-seeing-eyes of the Buddha, it symbolizing awareness.

Tibetans who live in Nepal, stay at these districts.

Morning is the preferable time to start your day and visit this place. Many of monasteries and nunneries, near the stupas teaching Buddhist philosophy.

They also teaching meditation to pursue a spiritual life.

They are Shechen Monastery, Khawalung Monastery, Kopan Monastery, Thrangu Monastery, Dilyak Monastery, Pullahari Monastery & Retreat Center, Khachoe Ghakyil Ling Nunnery, Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery

 

Feel the vibration of many Tibetans Buddhism in Nepal, chanting and praying is a memorable experience.

 

Historical Story Tibetan Buddhist in Nepal

Tibetan refugee went to Nepal since 1960s and 1970s with Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.

They cross the border into India. Tibetans followed the Dalai Lama to India through the Himalayas. About one-third remain in or near camps in Kathmandu and Pokhara. They living and live with local communities in Nepal.

The real number of Tibetans in Nepal not known. But at least 12,000 live in Kathmandu’s Boudhanath district.

They live and get an excellent education. Many of them attending Tibetan school and learn Tibetan language and culture. Many of the young Tibetan people learn English well.

 

Chanting Mantras of Compassion and spinning a wheel

The stupa is the most popular site for Buddhists in Nepal. The pilgrim journey start by circumambulating the structure chanting mantras. Not only in the morning, the vibration also stronger at night.

Our eyes will mesmerized by the light of butter lamps while our ears listen to monks, and Buddhism peoples humming and chanting the mantras.

The stupa is a symbol of enlightened mind and presence of the Buddha.The mound symbolizes the form of the seated Buddha which doing meditation to endeavoring enlightenment.

The pinnacle symbolizes enlightenment, the spire of Buddhist achievement.

During the day, Tibetan Buddhist chanting a six-syllable Sanskrit Buddhist mantra of compassion “Om Mani Padme Hum,”.

Monks and nuns in saffron robes pass by and spinning the prayer wheel and chanting the mantras. Repetitive sounds vibrate through chanting, mental practice and listening.

It will penetrate unconscious mind and adjust the vibration all of your being. Buddhism believe this beautiful chanting mantra of compassion, bring out all the positive energy inside us.

These mantras of compassion believed to turn around negative vibrations into positive and attractive vibrations.

Om Mani Padme Hum

The meaning of this chant is beautiful.

OM MANI PADME HUM means wishing the universe is full of awareness, acknowledgment and acting with good deeds. It invite our awareness to leads us out of suffering and use compassion the help the others.

Om is a great importance sacred syllable of the Hindu and Buddhism As well. The vibration or sound of the universe “Om” symbolize divine energy and generosity and purifies the ego.

They use it in the beginning or at the end of every sacred text used in a prayer of Hindu worship, meaning the ‘universal existence’.

The symbol is of Om associate with the Absolute or the Almighty.

Mani in Sanskrit means jewel or gem. It mean the richness of Non-material knowledge and awareness. “Ma” represents ethics and purifies jealousy and “Ni” represents patience and purifies want or desire.

Padma means a lotus. Its symbol of clarity, transparency, compassion. “Pad” represents diligence and purifies ignorance and judgment.

“Me” represents concentration and purifies attachment.

Hum means the Unity of all and represents wisdom and purifies hatred. HUM is a fulfillment of MANI and PADME in our universe.

The chanting translates as the universal existence lying in the lotus’s jewel.

 

Boudhanath Stupa, the great white stupa at Boudhanath
Boudhanath Stupa, the great white stupa at Boudhanath

Prayer wheels

Monks, nuns and Tibetan Buddhism chanting the mantras in their heart. They walking and spinning the cylindrical wheels perched on spindles.

“Om Mani Padme Hum also written on the side on Prayer Wheel and paper scroll inside the prayer wheel.

In Tibetan Buddhism, the prayer wheels are spinning in a clock-wise direction. As the result, the motion of the Mantra reflects the movement of sun across the sky.

Spinning a wheel is same meritorious effect as reciting prayers.

It is a physical manifestation of Lord Buddha’s philosophy of turning the wheel of Dharma. Not only in Buddhism, dharma also being a natural law that importance in Hinduism.

 

Boudhanath Stupa “symbol of the Buddha,”

 

Tibetans Call Boudhanath Stupa as Chorten Chempo. It mean “Great Stupa”. It also called Jharung Khashor. This stupa become the most important Tibetan Buddhist monument outside Tibet. Boudhanath Stupa become the focus for Tibetan exiles in Nepal since 1959 and it’s still become the biggest, most auspicious landmark.

 

Boudhanath Stupa also designated as a world heritage site in 1979 and built in the 5th century. It is one of the largest, ancient, and magnificent Stupas in the world.

They build Boudhanath stupa to save holy relics of the past Buddha, Kashyapa. But other said holy relics inside Boudhanath Stupa is a piece of bone from the skeleton of Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha.

Relics mean the body part of a saint or something else associate with a saint which some people regard as holy.

Great Stupa symbolizes the Mind of all the Buddhas.

 

Boudhanath Stupa “the mind of Buddha” have a power and compassionate blessings, which is beyond the imaginations and conceptions of all being.

Boudhanath Stupa, the great white stupa at Boudhanath
Boudhanath Stupa, the great white stupa at Boudhanath

The Living architecture of Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa from above looks like a giant mandala with white dome sits on a base shaped like a mandala’s frame. Stupa in Boudhanath represent the holy mind of the Buddha. Each step shows the path to enlightenment.

The architecture of the Stoud Boudhanath is Living architecture. The design creates beautiful structures. It improve and lift our spirits and being in harmony with the natural environment.

Boudhanath Stupa Living Architecture
Boudhanath Stupa Living Architecture

Here is the symbol of the architecture of Boudha

  1. Pinnacle

Peak of the stupa symbolize Mount Sumeru or Meru. It also called Sineru or Mahameru. A cosmic mountain and sacred in Hinduism, Buddhist and Jain cosmology.

It a center of all metaphysic, physic and spiritual realm. In Hinduism, they believe that Mount Meru is home of god Brahma. They believe that Brahma is the creator of the universe and of all beings.

Mount Meru is located at the center of the universe.

  1. Umbrellas

 

Umbrella symbolize as protectors of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The 3 jewels of Buddhism.

Buddha the full enlightened one and Dharma is Buddha teaching. Sangha is a Sanskrit word. The meaning is community. Sangha in Buddhism refers to the monastic community of monks and nuns.

There is floating canopy above the umbrella. It symbolize the air.

  1. Lotus

Lotus represent enlightenment, self-improvement, and purity. It is rooted in mud and grows from dirty water. Beautiful lotus growing without becoming dirty. Lotus symbolize enlightenment like Buddha himself and Bodhisattva.

  1. Thirteen Steps

The thirteen steps represent the thirteen step of the Bodhisattva’s grounds to meet enlightenment.

Bodhisattva refers to a person who has attained Enlightenment. But postpones Nirvana and their own salvation to help others meet Enlightenment.

  1. Two Big Eyes

The Buddha’s eyes in the stupa symbolize the ability of Buddha who sees everything. It is the eyes of wisdom. A pair of giant blue eyes, symbols of method and wisdom, that look out from the four sides of the main tower.

  1. Nose

The nose symbolizes Nirvana. Nirvana refers to perfect peace and happiness. The origin of the word nirvana relates to religious enlightenment. it comes from the Sanskrit meaning “extinction, disappearance,”.

  1. Harmika

Harmika represent the eight noble paths of Buddhism. It is Buddha’s practical instructions for reaching the end of suffering. The steps of the Noble Eightfold Path are Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration of proper meditation

  1. Prayer Flags

The prayer flags tied to the stupa carries spells and Prayers to heaven. The prayer flag has 5 colors with each significance. White Color represent purity. Green symbolizes peace and protection from danger.

Yellow represent beauty and wealth. Blue color represent knowledge, enlightenment and red color symbolizes love or affection.

  1. Dome

The dome symbolize the universe. It contains of the eternity water, jewels of enlightenment, and votive offerings to the deities.

  1. Mandala

Mandala Square depicts the level. Mandalas are. Represented as external expressions to help find the universe in them. Often, Mandalas combine Buddhist symbols or physical representations.

It’s show the change of spiritual journey. They consider it as an enormous house of a Buddhist deity.

  1. Two Circular Plinths

2 circular Plinths below the dome represent Water. It support the halves of the stupa above the platform.

  1. Three Decreasing Platforms

Stupa base comprises three large platforms, in different decreasing size. These platforms symbolize the Earth.

From these platforms, you can look to the mountains while listening to the singing of the people who are doing “kora”.

They walk the kora around a sacred site, to gives them merits on their journey towards enlightenment and shield themselves from misfortune.

  1. The Dhyani Buddhas

Dhyani Buddhas symbolize the five elements earth, water, fire, air and space / ether. It represents in stupa architecture.

The beautiful History behind Boudhanath Stupa

There are different beautiful stories behind the origin of Boudhanath Stupa.

The Tibetan Text

Tibetan text write that daughter of Indra stole flowers from heaven and because of that, she reassigns to earth as a poor poultryman’s daughter.

Yet, she is live prosperous and use her wealth to build stupa as honor for mythical Buddha of a previous age.

She asks the king to give her land, and the king only granted her wish as much land as could be covered by a buffalo skin. Then she cut the buffalo skin into thread-thin strips and joined them end to end to enclose an immense area.

The Newari legend

Newari legend start with the drought that hit Kathmandu during the reign of the former Lichhavi king, Vrisadev. Astrologers told the king that only the sacrifice of a righteous man would bring rain.

Then, Vrisadev assign his son Mandev to go to the royal well on a moonless night and decapitated the body covered with a shroud he found there.

Mandev Obeys his father’s orders and know that he was sacrificing his own father.

He feels guilty and ask the goddess Bajra Yogini from Sankhu how to drop his Guilt. Then the goddess ask him to let a bird fly and the goddess told him to build a stupa at the place where the bird landed.

Whatever the legend of the origin of the great stupa, it’s possible that the core of the stupa build as early as the fifth century AD. It believed that holy relics which are parts of the Buddha’s body and objects touched or used by him,

along with sacred texts and other ritual objects are inside the Great Stupa. The stupa has been encloses and seal for centuries, no one knows what lies within inside the great stupa.

Even though, it’s belief that it holds the relics which responsible for the stupa’s power, and ability to command the traditional veneration of Budha.

What we can do around Boudhanath Stupa

Circumambulate the stupa and walk clockwise around stupa is the major activity of pilgrims and many tourists here.

One circumstance is around 150 meters. You can do in the morning, daytime or night.

The stupa and activity surrounding Monastery, Tibetan shops, cafe, and the pilgrim journey are very photogenic. It has beautiful big eyes “Buddha Eyes” painted on the four sides. These pair of eyes look at you when you are circling.

You also can ascend to the upper level, where you can see a delightful view of the surrounding area. Please consider to not take pictures of people without their permission.

You also can do Monastery tour.

Please Practice respectful manners when you visit. You can ask the first monk or nun you see at the monastery or nunnery that you wish to visit for permission, before wandering around their home.

Some monastery or nunnery encourage the public to visit by offering guided tours, puja services, classes, meals, & gift shops.

Please be respectful, don’t smoke, turn off or silent your cell phones, lower your voice, and leave your shoes outside before entering any temples or buildings, and get permission before taking pictures.

Monasteries and nunneries are sanctuaries for inner spiritual practice and not tourist attractions.

There are many handicraft stores, as well as a traditional Buddhist Monastery, located all around the stupa. There are shops that situated all around the Stupa.

You can buy Tibetan and Buddhist items like statues, prayer flags, Tibetan incense, and singing bowl. This might be the best place in Nepal for Buddhist and Tibetan shopping.

There also shop, Shanta Ratna Shakya, Himalayan Singing Bowl Center that sell hand made singing bowls used for centuries by Himalayan monastics.

Nowadays, Himalayan Singing Bowl used by therapists, traditional healers, musicians, & meditators. Here also so many cafes and restaurants around where you can watch the stupa and the worshippers.

Best Time to go Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa, the great white stupa at Boudhanath
Boudhanath Stupa, the great white stupa at Boudhanath

Take an early morning dusk or evening are the best times to be here. The time when the world start, ritual music drifts from the houses and monasteries that circle the stupa.

Its time for monks, nuns, locals and devote pilgrims and doing kora together, strolling, shuffling and prostrating their way around the Stupa.

The inspiring white dome in the center of Boudhanath buzzing with energy. Please practice good manner when you are visiting the surrounding of these sacred sites.

Wear Modest clothing that show respect for the sacred nature of the site. You need to avoid dress that show your shoulder and skin. Don’t wear short.

Take your shoes off, before entering temple buildings and some shops and follow the lead of the locals. Circumambulate the stupa and other sacred objects in a clock-wise direction. Preserve the peace and tranquility.

Do not climb onto statues or other sacred objects and do not take pictures of people without their permission.

Night also great time to visit.

When the sun disappear, and it becomes dark. There are many local people and worshipped circling the stupa doing kora. It creates a very great atmosphere and good vibration of the entire place.

Light the butter lamp and send a prayer for your wishes, look around for souvenirs, or observe all from a nearby rooftop restaurant with a hot cup of coffee in your hand is a memorable activity.

Boudhanath Stupa Best Time
Boudhanath Stupa Best Time

How to go Boudhanath Stupa

You can hire a taxi to Boudhanath. This is the easiest and most common form of tourist transport. You can get a taxi anywhere from Kathmandu or Thamel to Boudhanath. There are difficult to get metered by taxi, so you need to bargain. It costs around 400–500 rupees.

You should tell the taxi driver that you wish to go to Boudhanath Stupa’s primary Gate.

Remember to walk around the stupa in a clockwise direction and also to spin the prayer wheels clockwise.

 

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Florensia Damayanti

Hi, I’m an Artificial Intelligence enthusiasm, 11+ years programming and application development Travel and enjoy observing people in a unique culture is my favourite things to do. I collect beautiful memories by visit Beijing, Singapore, Nepal, Hongkong, Poland, Germany, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia and so many more. Nepal is one of my favourite country. It is the birthplace of the Lord Buddha and the home of Himalayan mountain.

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