Saying goodbye to Nepal
As this journey comes to an end, I had the chance to know Kathmandu tourist zone. This week I went to Patan, Thamel, and Swayambhunah with my friends John and Daniel. The Buddhist Kathmandu is constituted of Swayambhunath and Bouddhana.
Boudha Stupa is a massive and impressive view, both from the bottom and from above, from the many terrace restaurants surrounding it. From above it looks like a huge mandala, a diagram of the Buddhist cosmos, and according to Carl Jung, a diagram of the psyche, a symbol of wholeness. Living by its side day by day, slowly builds great reverie, a sense of reverence and depth, despite all the business and liveliness surrounding it. It is like being around a cathedral, the reverence doesn’t subsides, it grows and deepens.
Four of the Dhyani Buddhas mark the cardinal points with Vairocana enshrined at the center, the white hemisphere of the stupa. The shrine is constituted of 9 levels, symbolizing Mt. Meru the mythic center of the universe. There are 13 rings from bottom to top, symbolizing the path to enlightenment. This stupa is especially related to Avalokiteshvara and its 108 representations found at the bottom around the walls. It is also surrounded by several series of prayer wheels with the Mantra OM Mani Padme Hum inscribed on each one, and also filling the insides of these wheels of all sizes, all around the stupa. Inside the shrine tower the ceiling is covered by a painting of a Mandala, topping a large statue of the Buddha and the Dalai Lama’s picture.
Tomorrow we are all leaving, Daniel to Delhi, John to Lapchi, for a 2 year retreat, and me back to America. Many friends have already left, and a few others will be leaving next week, going different directions. Bouddhana is filled again with a different wave of religious tourists. Westerners, Koreans and Japanese were everywhere this morning with their huge cameras. As the snow arises on the Himalayas Tibetan nomads descend the mountains taking refuge in Boudha, filling the area with their most colouful traditional outfits and long hair dressed in red, all with their malas in hand reciting mantras.