Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Om mani padme hung

Had a great day around the many monasteries around the Stupa and doing 'kora' around the Stupa. Kora is a complete clockwise walk around the Stupa and you should do at least 3. Bons go anti clockwise. Each kora takes around 5 minutes and we managed 11 in between our visits to the other monasteries .The most magical time is in the evening when there are very few tourists and but lots of Tibetans and Nepalese. The Stupa is one of the largest in the world and is a World Heritage site, it was built in the 5 th century by a woman who had four husbands. It is said to contain the relics of the first Buddha and was blessed by Bodhisattva ,s ,  enlightened beings who have declined Nirvana until every sentient being has gained enlightenment, and that the heavens sang when it was completed. Since 1950's it has become the focal point of exciled Tibetans and is a point of pilgrimage and considered one of the holist sites outside Tibet. In the early evening the atmosphere becomes almost electric as Buddhists of every age do Kora. They hold their Mala,s - prayer beads, in their hands and chant Om mani padme hung as they circumanbulate, some walking quickly others taking their time, the most devout doing prostrations every three steps.  Some have travelled a long way and if they are poor a lot will have been on foot. It's very humbling to realise this as we do our little bit. We think that our travels are tiring, but we just have jet lag and have a nice comfy warm hotel to go back to. These people have nothing but a small plastic bag of their belongings and a great desire to fulfil a lifetimes wish to visit this holy place. There are a lot of old women sitting by themselves on the ground chanting and giving thanks. Thier skin is heavily lined and wrinkled, the colour of Mahogany. On their faces are bueatific smiles. In the UK they would be in old peoples homes, tired and lonely. Here they have nothing but the warmth of their faith and empty belly's, but they are so happy. If you smile at them you are rewarded with a huge grin and a nod. A knowing that we are all sharing the same feelings and experience in this moment of time. Even the street dogs do Kora, one past me three times trotting along as if in a hurry. This afternoon they all started barking at a man, it took us a few seconds to realise that he was going anti clockwise, which very few attempt, and it was as if the dogs were trying to tell him to turn around, it was quite amusing. By 8 pm it goes very quiet, the rush is over, just a few latecomers and by 9pm that's it. All that's left are a few people who have have no where to go and therefore just bed down for the night in one of the worlds most peaceful and sacred places.

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