Boudha stupa – of myths and legends

Why it is called Be-bou Chorten in Dzongkha

There are many theories on the origin about the name “Nepal”. There is one I agree with.

In Newari, ‘Ne’ means ‘middle’ and ‘pa’ means ‘country’. So Nepal is a country situated in the middle. This probably got transliterated in Choekay as ‘Pe-bou’ (as referenced by European sources from the mediaeval period), which later became as “Bae-bou”, which either means “Bae-yul-Bou”, or just mispronounced from Pe-Bou.

Boudha, thus, became to be known as Be-bou Chorten in Dzongkha.

Lesser known legends about Be-bou Chorten.

1. The stupa contains the physical remains of Buddha Kashypa (Sangye Yoesung) – the Buddha prior to Buddha Sakyamuni.

2. During consecration 100 million Buddhas descended and dissolved into it. Thus it is the most sacred monument in all three strands of Buddhism.

3. Boudha is the biggest stupa in the World. It has inspired several statues built in Bhutan, such as Chorten Kora, Chendepji, Kurizam, and Tama.

Guru Rimpoche in Kathmandu

Kathmandu valley, as a spiritual realm is known as Lhuendrup Tse, and was the most important charnel grounds frequented by Guru Rimpoche. Boudha was the centre of this Lhuendrup Tse.

However, in Newari Buddhism, Guru is just regarded as a great magician, who put an end to a terrible drought and disease in the Valley. The sacred places like Yanglasho, Chumik Jangchu and Maratika were discovered by Tibetan and Bhutanese lamas and traders in the late mediaeval period.

The Wish-fulfilling Stupa

There are many legends, myths, history and stories around this magnificient chorten that it is left to the devotee as to what to believe. As a Bhutanese, and thus a Guru Rimpoche fan, I choose to believe it as a wish-fulfilling stupa.

Story goes that the four sons of the Poultry Keeper made some aspirations during the consecration of the stupa. The eldest aspired to be reborn as a Dharma King. The second wished to be a great scholar monk. The third aspired to be a powerful tantric yogi. And the fourth to be a minister to coordinate all religious activities of his elder brothers.

All their wishes were fulfilled. The eldest brother was reborn as Tibetan Emperor Trisong Deutsen, the second as great scholar Shantarakshita, the third as Guru Padmasambhava, and the youngest as minister Ba Trisher.

Interestingly bad wishes are also granted if made at this Stupa. The donkey, who believed that he did all the hard work, was upset that he was not invited to the consecration. So he made a wish that he be the one to destroy all the religious legacies of the four brothers. The donkey was later reborn as anti-dharma King Langdarma.

However, as the donkey was making that bad wish, a crow witnessed it and aspired to be the one to put an end to any anti-dharma elements. He would be reborn as Lalung Pelgyi Dorji and he would be the one to assassinate the anti-Buddhist Langdarma.

The Boudha chorten would, therefore, become known around the Tibetan Buddhist world as a wish-fulfilling stupa. And “the most sacred monument in Buddhism” according to my lama.

Because the stupa is so big, your wishes can also be as vast, and as crazy as you can possibly think.

#stupa #boudha #nepal #kathmandu #guru #chorten #padmasambhava

One thought on “Boudha stupa – of myths and legends

  1. Pingback: Ten must-visit sacred sites in Kathmandu – Dorji Wangchuk

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