Boudnath Stupa for the First Time

We’ve arrived, and yes we are safe from the recent earthquake, but there’s the inner earthquake going on. It’s a Buddha holy day, Labub Duchen, Buddha’s descent from Tushita, and we ourselves have descended from the clouds to alight in the land of the Buddha.

As we are rounding the corner from our guesthouse in Kathmandu and on the way to Bouda, the stupa reveals itself, golden eyes in a dharmakaya blue sky, brilliant white vault of purity. Me and Ela let out a spontaneous squeal of utter delight, and then simultaneously burst into tears! Uncontrollable wracking sobs I have no idea who I am or what’s going on… which is that everything just goes on, of course.

Hanging onto each other, my goddaughter and I sway around a bit and slowly get our breath back. Then, a few steps, and as we enter the magnetised gentle whirlpool of kora, I pray may we become stream-enterers.

I takes five times around, and slowly, like Donna Summer coming into focus from the nutbush city limits (or was it knock on wood?), my fragmented minds coalesce into a single minded prayer. May I become a stream enterer. I’m 56 years old, i was brought up a Buddhist, and this is my first time in Asia, first time in Nepal, and I’ve finally arrived!

Oh stupa, I only have eyes for you! I’m not even looking at the shopping yet! It’s not even me circumambulating, but thanks to the power of dependent arising, it’s future Buddha Miffi pulling along current time Miffi and everyone else around with her!

I already have the power, the merit to be here, so may it have the best outcome. May I make the best investment for all sentient beings.

We are magnetised to the stupa. Walking behind one old Tibetan lady, her hands are so gentle and full of kindness as she turns the prayer wheels. I adjust my technique with a touch of shame. Then following and old Tibetan man, he is so thorough, setting each wheel spinning with such determination I can barely touch my fingertips to them as they whir at the speed of light.

And then it begins for me. A lady comes up, saying she’s from Alice Springs, am I Australian, and I’m the best dressed she’s seen all week. Soon after, a young lady in a pristine white floral fifties frock, matching lippy, and cleavage, comes up saying she’s so happy someone else has dressed so coordinated. She’s trying to feel normal on the last day before 2 weeks trekking and grime. I say, not to feel normal dear, you must use your natural resources to be a divine offering. Meanwhile various monks look at me in alarm or slight incomprehension…

“Who sees me today, may the ordained become more devoted, may the lay be inspired. May I hook them all with an unbreakable connection to Dharma until they are all liberated.” May my sense of responsibility be a dharma joy, not a job. May my natural resources of colour and brightness propel me to make a meaningful life.

And so, with a sonic boom to the heart, a wave of wisdom love from the karmic magnetic pole of bouda stupa, the Buddha’s heart to our heart, on our fist day we are transfigured and ready for pilgrimage.