Kechara Lounge @ Bouddhanath
Some friends just returned from Nepal and they got me dreaming about Nepal. I would like to go to Nepal too but I guess I can't afford it at this time. The next best thing would be to travel with my mind. The picture above is very iconic of Nepal and it is the largest Stupa in Nepal called the Bouddhanath Stupa. It was built a long, long time ago and is believed to contain relics of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni. Hence, it is one of the biggest mecca for Buddhists, from around the world. It is so old that Atisha, Guru Rinpoche and many other great Indian and traveling Tibetan masters have been here to do pilgrimage. It is amazing! We have since set up Kechara Lounge just facing the circumambulation circuit around the Stupa. The second picture is that of Kechara Lounge and it is facing the Stupa. Here is a link on our official website - http://www.kechara.com/lounge/kechara-in-nepal/kechara-in-nepal/
I love these ancient buildings and the hustle and bustle there because just being there made me feel like I was transported back into time during the great Patan Kings. I just have to replace the cars and bikes with horses and bullock-carts. The old grand buildings are little royal temples and the actual square belonged to the royal palace of the old kings. Almost every corner of this vast square makes an excellent photo opportunity.
This Chenrezig temple is really an old temple with amazing bas-relief images of the various forms of Chenrezig carved all around the temple. The temple's inner sanctum is inaccessible to all except the caretaker or a priest. However, it is not very big so one can see the white hallowed face of Chenrezig within and make offerings of flowers, incense or butter lamps and recall our own spiritual aspirations. The caretaker will take your offerings and place it within.
Dukkar or Sitatapatra or White Umbrella with a thousand hands and thousand faces
I saw this amazing White Umbrella statue at a store in Nepal. I just love it and at around 3-4 feet, this is the biggest statue of White Umbrella I have ever seen. I think someone did mention seeing a similar statue at one of those antique shops in KL and they were retailing it for over RM200k!! I dare not ask the price though and I doubt this statue is still in there after all these years if I returned to ask. But it would have been a grand image for my altar. (I know, I am such a pagan Buddhist...Hehehe!)
I saw this sepia photo of a Vajracharya along with his 'flock' in the hotel. I love it so much that I took a picture of it and unfortunately the glass on the photo was highly reflective. This is the old Nepalese society and even then, the monastics of Buddhism did not survive and was largely replaced by the lay Vajracharya priests that perform Tantric rituals for the benefit of the community. The star design on his robes hint that he might be a Vajrayogini priest. I found that intriguing and that was another reason why I snapped this picture.
This is another exceptionally sacred spot on Swayambhunath hill. This spot is near the famous Swayambhunath Stupa, another great icon of Nepal. This place is largely an empty square lined with trees and abundant fluttering prayer flags. According to Rinpoche, this place is sacred to Manjushri, the Buddha's student, who is also considered to be the Buddha of wisdom as well. He is believed to appear at a certain time of the year to teach the worldly gods. However, only those with clairvoyance or with the third eye can perceive him and many people have in the past. In this picture, we were propitiating Manjushri's blessings by receiving oral transmission of his mantra and propitiating him with his praise.
This statue was offered to represent Naropa in a small little cell that was said to be his cave centuries ago. Naropa is said to have experienced extreme privation under the tutelage of his Guru, Tilopa and is believed to have achieved enlightenment soon after receiving teachings and a Vajravarahi initiation. He beheld Vajravarahi in a new form that is now known as Vajrayogini, who initiated him into her practice. Thus, Rinpoche's lineage of Vajrayogini stems from this divine beginnings. We were so fortunate to be able to make offerings, mantras and prayers here. Naropa's pure devotion to his master was a source our inspiration and we prayed to have similar devotion in our practice so we achieve his same state of pure awakening.
For more pictures and stories of Nepal, check out Vajrayogini Coffee Table Book:- http://vajrasecrets.com/products-by-category/books/english-books/vajrayogini-and-other-sacred-power-places-in-nepal.html