the third day of the Tibetan New Year is the date of the annual “Prayer for World Peace” in Lumbini, Southern Nepal. The Shedra Losar (New Year)- holidays enabled me to go there by bus and participate in the beginning of the ceremony. Lumbini is the birth place of Buddha Shakyamuni and the sites that are related to the old Shakyan Kingdom can still be visited. Any time I visited Lumbini I enjoyed the calm and peaceful atmosphere that I experienced as soon as I arrived there. This place is also referred to as the “Fountain of World Peace”. The ceremony was opened by a very moving speech of the Lama that hosts this event and addressed the need for our aspirations towards a world of more harmony and less selfishness. Then the actual prayers started and even though the locality of “The Great Lotus Stupa” is affiliated to the Kagyud tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, all the invited monks from the surrounding Chinese, Japanese, Shri Lankan and other monasteries contributed their prayers in their different traditional styles and made that first day an extraordinary spiritual event.
The day after I had to take leave in order to be back in Boudha for classes in time.The monks and lamas that stayed for the remaining days of the ceremony, found themselves in a quite difficult situation at the time when they wanted to return to Kathmandu, because the district in which Lumbini is located became starting point of a political unrest that entailed complete stop of transportation for that area. All of them had to stay for several more days than intended and could also then only return with difficulties.
However, all in all it was an experience that I can absolutely recommend and which is also an alternative to the Losar celebrations that take place in Boudha each year. Nepal is one of the countries that needs peace desperately and the monastic traditions of Buddhism found a genuine way to dedicate their aspirations and activities towards that very important goal.
May these activities flourish and increase,
~ Sonam from Germany