The Bodhnath (Boudha) stupa is the Tibetan Center of Nepal. As Hugh Cross put it, “you have no idea what you are about to see”. And indeed, there was no knowing that behind the tall street buildings, shops and city life, a giant dome emerges in the center..with prayer flags blowing in the wind, people walking in meditation, incense filing the skies with the scent of frankincense. Breathe in deep…walk clockwise…let your heart be still. Namaste is the greeting. Silence is the practice. Chants give rise to prayers.
From the leprosy research lab and hospital to the spiritual center of Kathmandu, we simply listen, walk and wonder. Being who we are…we stumble quickly into the shops where Tibetan wares are handmade (or not) with the depth of the culture hammered into their form. The singing bowl makes water dance and the sound of the prayer chants emerge as you run the stick around its edges. We try many. We evaluate the sounds. Each one is different. Can we capture this and take it home? It only takes a moment to understand the people value taking time to honor one another and be with each other. No one here is hurrying; everyone moves about with purpose.
I am thankful we are here. Many cultures meld into this sacred space. Many people come seeking. They feed the pigeons to offer penance. The monks in training are robed in maroon garments wrapped about their bodies to tell us who they are in this space. The monastery is flanked by a coffee shop one one side, pashmina scarves on the other. We are caught between the scared center, the shops and our own journeys. Journeys that keep telling us God is so big and the world as we know it has become small. Let it sing.