Namobuddha-Nature & Spirituality
Namobuddha is a popular tourist destination lying on the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley. It is an important pilgrimage for Buddhists as they believe the relics of the past life of Lord Buddha lie in a monastery in Namobuddha. Namobuddha is a small hillock in Kavre district lying around 50 kilometers away from Kathmandu. Covered by pine forests and prayer flags offered by devotees, Namobuddha is home to several ancient stupas and monasteries.
The history and religious significance of this place dates back to the pre-Buddha era. Around six years ago, legends say, there lived a prince named Ngingdui Tshenpo. He, along with his two brothers, during his outing in the Namobuddha forests, came across a dying tigress with her three cubs. The starved tigress was not in a position to feed her cubs. The sight really touched the prince who asked his brothers to return home, saying that he would catch up with them soon enough.
The prince then went to the tigress to offer himself as her food. The prince was the previous incarnation of the Lord Buddha, and the tigress recognized him. After bowing down to the prince and thanking him for his divine grace, the tigress refused to eat her Lord. But the prince was persistent, and reasoned with her saying that his next life parents were waiting for him and that this task of self-sacrifice was of utmost importance for him and that she would be helping him by accepting the offer.
After this, the prince realized that the tigress was too weak to eat him whole by herself, so he started cutting off flesh from his body to feed her. In this way, Ngingdui Tshenpo saw the end of himself to see that the tigress and her cubs lived. The remaining princes reached home where the anxious mother saw that one of her son has not returned. She knew the place had tigers and worriedly took off to find her son. The search party found the clothes and jewelries and the skeletons of the prince and the grief stricken mother died on the spot.
The skeletons of the prince were buried, and a monastery built around it. The monastery is still there at Namobuddha. Similarly, the mother was also buried nearby and a temple built in her memory is still there. Centuries later, after getting enlightenment, Lord Buddha came to Namobuddha with his disciples Syaribu and Maao.
Gyalgi Buku. Gautam Buddha circumambulated the Stupa three times, and prayed and bowed down. During the time, the place was named Sangke da Fyafulsa, and since Namo stands for bowing and Buddha bowed down here, the place was named Namobuddha.
We can see paintings in the monasteries here that depict these stories. The old monastery gets many religious visitors, and there is also the culture of peeping in through a hole at the side of the monastery after remembering the ancestors. Each individual sees different things. There is also another old monastery beside the main monastery, where people worship to ask to liberate the souls of ancestors and also to get blessings from them. There is a small cave a little above the monastery. People believe that the place where the remains of the prince are found along with the tigress and her cubs. A new monastery, Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery, has also been built in the area.
Namobuddha & Tigers
Even till date,people believe that the tigers here do not harm the locals. Locals say the tigers do not harm them as the prince offered himself to the tigress centuries ago. The locals recall many incidents of sighting tiger. In one incident a local apparently saw a tiger feasting on a lamb. He shrieked in fear, but the tiger took off instead of attacking him. There are many ‘devi thans’, or the temple of goddess, here. And locals relate the temples to abundance of tiger here as they believe that big cats are transportation of the the goddess.
Importance of Namobuddha
Namobuddha is not just a place of great religious and spiritual significance. It is important in terms of tourist attractions too. Namobuddha offers some of the best mountain views in the region. The view of the snowcapped mountains and green hills, and the pine forests add to the beauty of this place.
The word Namobuddha is in various Buddhist religious books and is a very important Buddhist pilgrimage. Even before the monastery was built, the place was among many small kingdoms of Nepal. Ancient heritage of this place has been excavated many times. Building foundations, jewelries and other utensils excavated here match quite well with other such relics found in ancient Buddhist temples. The demand for Bodhichitta beads grown in this area is very high in China.
The place is also famous for growing in Bodhichitta. Bodhichitta is one of the most important plants religiously. People believe that Bodhichitta wards off evil and is used during meditation as well as worshipping. A Bodhichitta garland fetches Rs 100,000 to Rs 150,000 in Tibet and is also getting ever growing market in China. Along with Bodhichitta, the local people are popular for growing organic produce which is also getting good market in Nepal. Organic products grows here in acres of land and Resorts and market gets benefit of these organic products.
From religious site to beautiful scenic views to historic stories to organic food, Namobuddha has it all. Namobuddha gets many visitors but most of them are picnickers. Blasting disco music, wild partying and drunken people are degrading the religious and historical significance of this place. The government must step in stop such activities near holy sites. While promoting the place, it is very important to spread the word about the intrinsic value of the place and retain its spiritual and religious significance.
Duke Nepal Adventure is the best travel agency that has been offering Namobuddha Package connecting Dhulikhel for both National & International Tourist.
Text by : Anuska Joshi
Photo Credit : https://goo.gl/8kLg1B