One afternoon, high up on a hill at the base of the peaceful Boudhanath Stupa, I spent some time speaking to an elder nun. She knew she was over 100 years old, but just exactly how old, she was unsure.
Boudhanath is perched far up on a hill in an area of Kathmandu known for its large community of Tibetan Buddhists that live in the narrow, winding avenues surrounding it. It is a gathering place for all monks and nuns, most studying at monasteries nearby. They gather and talk about life and contemplate their Buddhist studies here.
Boudhanath is one of the largest circular stupas in Nepal and is revered for its massive white central mandala, and its giant painted Buddha Eyes – or Wisdom Eyes – painted on all four sides looking out over the city of Kathmandu. With majestic streamers of colourful prayer flags tied from the ground to the tip of its spire, they dance in the wind and the whole scene is one of grandeur.
It’s an idyllic place to sit and watch people as they circumnavigate the giant stupa clockwise. In a prayer called the ‘kora’, they chant mantras and run prayer beads through their fingers as they walk. I love it up here. It’s a place one can sit for hours on a bench just watching people. Not unlike this Nun has been doing right here for more years than she can remember,.
Elder Nun, Boudhanath Stupa.
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