Going on a pilgrimage to Nepal has been full of enchanting discoveries, enlightened meetings and priceless teachings from H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. Kathmandu is certainly a powerful spiritual hub with many sacred sites and temples to reconnect with the divine. One other site that I will always remember besides the holy Vajrayogini chapels is the site where Lord Manjushri gives teachings. It is a “must visit” pilgrimage spot if ever one is in Kathmandu. There is certainly something very special, mystical and magical about this place.
To the ordinary it just looks like a bare, dusty old courtyard with a few prayer wheels and some fluttering prayer flags tied on trees. But do not be fooled by its simplicity, for it is said that the Wisdom Buddha, Lord Manjushri descends from the pure land and gives Dharma teachings to many celestial beings once every year in this very spot! Rinpoche described the “ordinary” dusty courtyard is literally transformed into a beautiful celestial teaching ground fit for the Gods, and Manjsuhri their teacher.
This courtyard is situated just a short walk away from Swayambhunath Stupa, one of the oldest religious sites in Nepal. When we got there, there were three young Nepali girls who came up to greet Rinpoche. It was a strange encounter but definitely not an ordinary one and Rinpoche mentioned that it was an auspicious sign. Rinpoche said these girls could even be ‘dakinis’. As Rinpoche sat down to recite some prayers, so did these three girls who sat obediently next to Rinpoche. Then Rinpoche proceeded to recite the Praise to Manjushri (Gangloma) and gave us the oral transmission (lhung) of Manjushri’s blessed mantra.
The energy of the area became even more vibrant as we recited aloud Manjushri’s mantra “Om Ara Padsa Na Dhi”. A sense of peace was felt as a cool breeze came upon us, as if we’ve been blessed by Manjushri’s presence. This is definitely the an auspicious place to connect with the wisdom energies of Lord Manjushri.
As the world turns into growing more economically and being more materialistic, I do hope Nepal manages to preserve its sacred spiritual heritage. I’ve never thought Nepal to be one of the “must visit” places as I was growing up, but it is definitely is now one of my favourite places to visit at all times.
Overall it was a very fruitful and meaningful pilgrimage trip because of Rinpoche. Day and night, Rinpoche tirelessly explained things to us, gave us the information, stories, background, and the history behind each sacred site we visited which was what made it all the more significant. Not to mention connecting us with enlightened Lamas such as H.H. Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche and H.E. Dagom Rinpoche. None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for Rinpoche’s care for us to learn the Dharma, and bringing it to life for us as much as possible.
Rinpoche’s priority since day one has always been about benefiting others through Dharma, and up till this day, it has never swayed one bit. Because of Rinpoche many people’s lives like mine has more meaning and purpose. Instead of going in circles with just the mundane frivolous events of unending self-indulgences that will eventually end with feelings of empty dissatisfaction, Rinpoche gives us a priceless gift… the Dharma. This transcends space and time and when the teachings are applied, it allows for some contentment of peace within us. Some peace from this chaotic world we live in and from our own chaotic monkey mind. There are no words to describe the amount of kindness Rinpoche has shown and no amount of “thank yous” could ever be enough. Only thing worthy is to apply the invaluable teachings, but still thank you Rinpoche for everything.
Dakini(s) – A female embodiment of enlightenment is called a dakini in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit.