Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Get Your Buddha On

Image 85, 86, 87, 88/365: The Great Stupa of Boudha
Any day is a good day when you can survive the streets of Kathmandu to get your Buddha on at the great white stupa known as Boudha. Considered one of the world’s largest stupas, it is indeed breathtaking as you round the corner of busy little alleyways into the center encircling the stupa. It holds some pretty hefty status as an “auspicious” landmark and one of the holiest Tibetan Buddhist sites in Nepal. Its history dates back centuries to when it was a major player and sacred site on the trade route from Kathmandu to Tibet. For those of you who love languages, Boudha’s Tibetan name is Yambu Chorten Chenpo (Yambu is Tibetan for Kathmandu, and Chorten Chenpo is “great tower.”)

Legend has it that there are many holy relics, possibly parts of the Buddha himself included, inside the stupa, but since it has been sealed since the 5th century, no one really knows what mysteries await inside. As the home of protective Tibetan Buddhist exiles since the 1950’s, one has to believe that Boudha’s mystery will remain as such for a long, long time.

In the pictures below you can see prayer wheels, one of my longtime favorite aspects of Buddhism.  Prayer wheels are covered with mantras, like Om Mani Padme Hum, various symbols, and / or dakinis, female spirtual muses of sorts to aid you in your spiritual practice. (at least in Tibetan Buddhism) The more times the mantra is written inside the wheel, the more powerful it is said to be; even so, spinning a prayer wheel equates to reading the inscription thousands of times!
Image 84/ 365: A monk with his mani  prayer wheel in front of a row
of wheels (behind the red "curtain")

Generally, the wheels are spun clockwise to mimic the movement of the sun across the sky. As the wheels are spun, prayers are sent out to manifest wisdom and good karma, while destroying the bad karma. Chant your oms as you spin the wheels to enhance your mindful path to enlightenment, my friends. Compassion, wisdom and Bodhicitta (one who aspires to become fully enlightened to benefit everyone) may well be yours. And, after spinning the wheels, if you have any “extra” good karma, please, do as the Tibetan Buddhists do, and dedicate it to others who may need it. 

Image 83/ 365: Row of prayer wheels with prayer flags strung across the top.
Spin them smoothly, not too fast, not too slow, while chanting Om Mani Padme Hum.

Image 82/ 365: Prayer wheels come in all sizes. Rotation is almost
always clockwise (unless you want to stir up some wrath). This
dog may just be the most enlightened animal around.

Image 81/ 365: Tibetan script for Om Mani Padme Hum. 

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