Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Sacred Temples of Pashupatinath and Boudhanath

This morning (Monday) was filled with visiting sacred sites here in Kathmandu. Dad and I have been having difficulty sleeping and waking up around 4 a.m. Yes, I said 4 a.m. I sometimes fall back asleep, but today we just stayed up. We were ready for the continental breakfast by 7 and out the door by 8. We choose a driver today whose name is Pandey. In the Nepalese culture, negotiating the price of everything is expected and being we are foreigners, the prices is often double for us. So I have been practicing this skill, as it is not a natural quality I possess, but I'm getting better. I intend to negotiate a least once a day while we are here.

Boudhanath is a "jewel point in the center of a natural mandala, a store of sacred energy" and sits at the center of the city. This part of Kathmandu was literally built up around it. Boudhanath is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. Times past, travelers would stop here for the blessing of a safe passages over the mountains. It is the center of Buddhists studies and you can experience much of the traditional craftsmanship within the grounds.

Upon entering you see the great stupa looking at you. I literally was filled with goosebumps from head to toe. The spiritual energy is palpable. There is a calm that exists within the site. How could it not be with the smell of incense, the prayer wheels turning, monks everywhere, people praying and the presence of God. I have always appreciated the non-violent nature of Buddhism. Upon entering the sacred temple I felt a rush of peace. I bowed my head in prayer. I prayed for my daughter, I prayed for the children, I prayed for my cousin Linnea who is battling cancer, I prayed for peace. I will return to Boudhanath again on this trip. I want Junu to see and feel this beautiful place.

Pashupati is the Hindu site we visited. The picture with all the colors was taken there. In Hinduism I have appreciated how they couldn't comprehend God as one Being, therefore they used numorous dieties to represent all aspects of God. Each diety has a story and an animal counterpart. The cow is very sacred and if you happen to kill a cow you go to jail for 20 years. Even if you accidentily kill a cow, you still go to jail. I have seen 1 big ass bull and 1 big big cow, just hanging in the street. I'll try to snap a photo next time.

The truth is, I found it interesting from a cultural/archeological perspective, but I didn't like the way I felt while we were there. There was not a feeling of peace or calm. It was in stark contrast to what I felt at Boudhanath. I have no need to go back.

So this was our tourist jaunt. It was just before we went to the orphanage on the same day as I posted "the emotional dam burst open". I have this post a bit out of order, but that's how I've been lately...a bit out of order.

Peace and blessings,

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