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วันอังคารที่ 24 กุมภาพันธ์ 2015 เวลา 04:06 น.

 

 

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal 

 

 
          The Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath dominates the skyline. The ancient Stupa is one of the largest in the world. The influx of large populations of refugees from Tibet has seen the construction of over 50 Tibetan Gompas (Monasteries) around Boudhanath. As of 1979, Boudhanath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with Swayambhunath, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in the Kathmandu area.

 

 

 

Tibetan Monks

Tibetan Monks

  

 

 


Buddhism in Nepal


Buddhism has significant number of its residents in Nepal. Approximate 26% of the population practises Buddhism, specially Tibetan form of Buddhism. Nepal can be said to be the meeting point of Indian and Tibetan streams of Buddhism. This is not surprising for Nepal is in close proximity to Tibet. Fine Buddhist art has also hugely developed in Nepal. Ethnic groups residing in Central Nepal are mostly the followers of Buddhism. Buddhism in Nepal has also been influenced by Hinduism, another dominant religion in Nepal.

 

 

Tibetan Prayer Flags 

Tibetan Prayer Flags

 


History of Nepal Buddhism


Siddhartha Gautama, who founded Buddhism, was himself born in an ancient kingdom of Nepal. The country's closeness with India ensured that it became a treasury of Buddhist Sanskrit literature. Emperor Ashoka of India had established a pillar in Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Gradually, Buddhism became a dominant religion in sparsely populated northern areas of the country.

 

Beliefs and practices of Buddhism in Nepal date back to the time of its founder, Prince Siddhartha Gautama who was born in Lumbini in the southern Terai region of the country in about 543 B.C. Up to the age of twenty-nine, the young prince led a very sheltered life in the royal palace of his father, completely unaware of the problems and suffering of everyday life outside of the palace walls.

 

One day, he convinced his charioteer to take him outside the palace and was shocked at the sight of an old man, a cripple and a corpse. The realization that there was much misery and unhappiness in the world persuaded the prince to abandon his luxurious life in the royal palace in order to search for enlightenment and the real meaning of life.

 

For many years, Gautama wandered from place to place looking for a solution to the problems he saw all around him. Finally, while meditating under a Pipal tree, he became spiritually enlightened. Henceforth known as Lord Buddha or the " the enlightened one," began to preach the "Four Noble Truths" to all who would listen. According to this doctrine, people suffer because of their attachment to things and people; in other words, the root of all the problems is desire. These desires and consequently, all problems and sufferings, can be totally eliminated by following the "eightfold path"-right views, right intent, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort right mindfulness an right meditation.

 

Buddha journeyed from place to place, teaching and converting hundreds of followers and died at the age of eighty. However, his many disciples continued spreading his teachings.






Wade Davis - Science Of The Mind  (Buddhism in Nepal)

 

 

 

 

  

Boudhanath Stupa, Nepal   

Boudhanath Stupa, Nepal

 

 

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal
 

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal  

 

 

Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites in Nepal


Nepal hosts several Buddhist pilgrimage sites which are highly revered by the Buddhists. Ancient stupas of Swayambhunath and Boudhanath are considered most sacred among Nepali pilgrimage sites.

  


Kapilavastu
Kapilvastu, a historic town, is closely associated with Buddha's life. It is located about 250 km from Kathmandu and 25 km from Lumbini. It was here where Siddhartha Gautama, who later became Lord Buddha, was born in the sixth century B.C. Lord Buddha lived in Kapilvastu to the age of 29. Today the town is visited for religious, cultural and archaeological importance

  

  

Lumbini - The birthplace of the buddha  


Lumbini
Divine feelings like spirituality and holiness occupy one's heart when one is in Lumbini. Included among the world heritage sites, Lumbini has rich natural backdrop and impressive architectural beauty. The city, located in South-Western Terai of Nepal, is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimages.

  

  Swayambhunath


Swayambhunath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal
Swayambhunath, located west of Kathmandu is a pilgrimage held in high esteem Swambhunath can be literally translated as 'self-existent Buddha'. The grand stupa tells how Buddhism spread its influence in Nepal. The Stupa tells all about history and origin of Buddhism in Nepal.

  

Swayambhunath is an ancient religious complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. It is also known as the Monkey Temple as there are holy monkeys living in the north-west parts of the temple. The Tibetan name for the site means 'Sublime Trees' (Wylie:Phags.pa Shing.kun), for the many varieties of trees found on the hill. However, Shing.kun may be a corruption of the local Nepal Bhasa name for the complex, Singgu, meaning 'self-sprung'. For the Buddhist Newars in whose mythological history and origin myth as well as day-to-day religious practice, Swayambhunath occupies a central position, it is probably the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites. For Tibetans and followers of Tibetan Buddhism, it is second only to Boudhanath.

 

 

 

The Swayambhunath complex consists of a stupa, a variety of shrines and temples, some dating back to the Licchavi period. A Tibetan monastery, museum and library are more recent additions. The stupa has Buddha's eyes and eyebrows painted on. Between them, the number one (in Devanagari script) is painted in the fashion of a nose. There are also shops, restaurants and hostels. The site has two access points: a long stairway with 365 steps, leading directly to the main platform of the temple, which is from the top of the hill to the east; and a car road around the hill from the south leading to the southwest entrance. The first sight on reaching the top of the stairway is the Vajra. Tsultrim Allione describes the experience:

 

We were breathless and sweating as we stumbled up the last steep steps and practically fell upon the biggest vajra (thunder-bolt scepter) that I have ever seen. Behind this vajra was the vast, round, white dome of the stupa, like a full solid skirt, at the top of which were two giant Buddha eyes wisely looking out over the peaceful valley which was just beginning to come alive.

 

Much of Swayambhunath's iconography comes from the Vajrayana tradition of Newar Buddhism. However, the complex is also an important site for Buddhists of many schools, and is also revered by Hindus.

 

Boudhanath Stupa, Nepal

 Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal

 

View of the Boudhanath Stupa as seen from outside the entrance gate 

 View of the Boudhanath Stupa as seen from outside the entrance gate

 

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal 
          Tibetan culture can be experienced in Boudhanath Stupa, located in Kathmandu valley. After the 1959 Chinese invasion, thousands of Tibetans arrived in Boudhanath. Henceforth, the temple developed as one of the most important centers of Tibetan Buddhism. This largest stupa in Nepal was erected sometime in the 14th century after the Mughal invasion.

 

  

  Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal


The Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath dominates the skyline. The ancient Stupa is one of the largest in the world. The influx of large populations of refugees from Tibet has seen the construction of over 50 Tibetan Gompas (Monasteries) around Boudhanath. As of 1979, Boudhanath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with Swayambhunath, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in the Kathmandu area.

 

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal 

 

The Stupa is on the ancient trade route from Tibet which enters the Kathmandu Valley by the village of Sankhu in the northeast corner, passes by Boudhanath Stupa to the ancient and smaller stupa of Cā-bahī (often called 'Little Boudhanath'). It then turns directly south, heading over the Bagmati river to Patan - thus bypassing the main city of Kathmandu (which was a later foundation). Tibetan merchants have rested and offered prayers here for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many decided to live around Boudhanath. The Stupa is said to entomb the remains of Kassapa Buddha.

 

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal


  

 

  

 


What to See at Boudhanath Stupa
From above, Bodnath Stupa looks like a giant mandala, or diagram of the Buddhist cosmos. And as in all Tibetan mandalas, four of the Dhyani Buddhas mark the cardinal points, with the fifth, Vairocana, enshrined in the center (in the white hemisphere of the stupa). The five Buddhas also personify the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether), which are represented in the stupa's architecture.

 

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal

There are other symbolic numbers here as well: the nine levels of Boudhanath Stupa represent the mythical Mt. Meru, center of the cosmos; and the 13 rings from the base to the pinnacle symbolize the path to enlightenment, or "Bodhi" — hence the stupa's name.

 

 

At the bottom, the stupa is surrounded by an irregular 16-sided wall, with frescoes in the niches. In addition to the Five Dhyani Buddhas, Boudhanath Stupa is closely associated with the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Padmapani), whose 108 forms are depicted in sculptures around the base. The mantra of Avalokiteshvara - Om Mani Padme Hum - is carved on the prayer wheels beside the images of Avalokiteshvara around the base of the stupa.

 

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal

The base of the stupa consists of three large platforms, decreasing in size. These platforms symbolize Earth, and here you can look out at the mountains while listening to the chants of the devout doing kora, walking around the stupa praying.

 

Next come two circular plinths supporting the hemisphere of the stupa, symbolizing water. As at Swayabunath, Bodnath is topped with a square tower bearing the omnipresent Buddha eyes on all four sides.
 

 

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal

 

 

In search of the inner Buddha in Nepal

Who knew a hum could be so infectious?

The ubiquitous Buddhist mantra of "Om Mani Padme Hum" fills every monastery, shop and establishment in Nepal.

For embracing the spirituality that's woven into this little mountain nation, Boudhanath -- Kathmandu's thriving Buddhist enclave and a UNESCO World Heritage site -- is a good place to start.

The circular complex pulsates with the energy of chanting monks and Buddhist devotees.

It might be a peaceful place of worship, but it's a riot of color.

The ivory and yellow stupa in the center is wreathed in rainbow-hued prayer flags.

Maroon-clad monks walk clockwise around the stupa, turning prayer wheels with their right hand, and lighting lamps.

Anyone can join in, provided they remember to walk clockwise.

 

Scattered along the back alleys in radial, unnamed roads, other smaller, incense-filled monasteries such as the Jamchen Lhakhang and Shechen Monastery are pockets of calm.

 

In the large courtyard of Shechen, young monks in training sit with their books and smartphones, eager to take photos with visitors.

 

In a ring around the stupa, little shops are crammed with singing bowls and thangka religious paintings.

 

 

The Golden Eyes Restaurant at Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal 

The Golden Eyes Restaurant at Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal

 

Rooftop restaurants like The Golden Eyes Restaurant, Cafe du Temple or Stupa View offers great view of the stupa.

 

An hour's bus ride away from Kathmandu, visitors can spend a weekend at the guesthouse adjacent to Neydo Tashi Choeling Monastery to immerse themselves in Tibetan Buddhism, meditate in the Himalayas and find out what it's like to live with 200 monks.

 

The money from paying guests helps fund the monastery.

 

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal

 Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal 

  


Branches of Buddhism
Buddhism in Nepal comprises Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana streams. The Tibetan Mahayana tradition has most of its adherents in northern Nepal, with approximately 3000 monasteries. Newar Vajrayana Buddhism is a popular religious system in the Kathmandu Valley with number of rituals.   Some Nepalese have also turned to Theravada practice based on the Pali canon.

 

 

Buddhist Practices
Prostrating pilgrims, the spinning of prayer wheels, collective chants and burning lamps are some popular Buddhist practices often seen by tourists. Buddhists believe that if a slip of paper bearing a mantra is kept inside the wheels, the prayers reach gods when the wheel is spun. Several Buddhists are seen performing these practices in Buddhist religious sites all around the country.

 

 

Buddhist view of death in nepal

Todd Lewis, an expert on Asian religions at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, says that Nepal's religious history has been shaped by its geographic isolation, its cultural diversity and its many ethnic groups. More than 80% of the population is Hindu, with smaller numbers of Buddhists (9%), Muslims (4.4%), Christians (about 1%) and practitioners of animist religions.


In Nepal, a country with few graveyards, Lewis said funeral pyres are seen as the most compassionate way to treat the dead, for both Hindus and Buddhists believe in reincarnation, that we cycle through not one life but many. When we die, our corpses may lie lifeless but our spirit -- Hindus call it a soul; Buddhists call it consciousness -- lives on, and looks for another body to inhabit.

 

If the corpse is not destroyed quickly after death, the soul lingers and get trapped between realms, forced to wander Earth as an agitated ghost. When the skull bursts open on the funeral pyre, that means the soul has left the body, Lewis said.


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