“Bouddhanath Stupa is where one goes to find a deeper meaning of one’s existence; it is where one finds oneself.Everyone who arrives at the stupa of Bouddhanath gets a hearty greeting! No matter which direction you come from, its poignant eyes painted on all fours sides of the square base of its topmost part seem to speak to you directly, encouraging you in, and then following you around, calling you to awaken something within”, writes Susan M. Griffith-Jones.
However, things have changed post the earthquake and the holy Bouddhanath Stupa is undergoing complete reconstruction of its upper tier where its famous eye belong. There is a popular belief among Nepali people that if Bouddhanath Stupa collapses, so will Nepal. The reconstruction of the famous Stupa began as soon as feasibly possible, beginning with the removal of rubble and insertion of a spine, the ‘Tsog shing’, into the centre of its dome belly.
In spite of the interruptions, as you enter the ‘kora’, you will find an amiable place with lots of activities going on. The charm of this place is still the same. There is actually a lot you can do to keep yourself engaged. From browsing the shops that sell high-end curios and religious paraphernalia and antiques from Tibet and Nepal to discovering the meaning of the mandalas and deities in numerous thanka paintings displayed in windows to sitting in any rooftop restaurant overlooking the stupa, this place has a lot to offer. Simply sitting on a bench around the kora observing the pigeons and dogs can be very soothing. The restaurants have made shorter menus with items that can be served despite the shortage.
“All of this, however, is the superficial aspect to life at the stupa, and as I peeled layer by layer off the place in my six consecutive years of living there, I discovered that it is really what the tantric masters call a ‘cemetery’. Not like a cemetery where people are buried, but a place where all types of people exist together in one energetic cauldron, like a complete cross section of society manifest in one small place, so much so, that the potential is there to come to understand one’s essence of being at an intensely increased rate”.
Though the area is overpriced, it is awe-inspiring and vibrant and you always end up not minding paying a little more!! Several rebuilding and reconstruction works were being conducted in Bouddhanath during my stay in Nepal. Every nook and cranny, side street, and back way seemed to one-by-one transform their old shabby tea rooms and dingy work places to newly decorated shops and modern cafes.
Bouddhanath became home to Tibetan after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959. Chinese consider Bouddhanath one of the most holy places outside of their own country. The relationship between Bouddhanath and Tibet is quite tangled partly because of the fact that the story of its construction is intimately related to how Buddhism was expounded in the Land of Snows.
“Just like the kora of Bouddhanath, Time is a circle, and one extreme follows into another. Change is inevitable, and nature teaches us that in its myriad ways, no less at the stupa of Bouddhanath.”
This post has been adapted from the original blog post by Susan M. Griffith-Jones for www.ecs.com.np. Click below to read the full story