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After finishing 5 kora at Boudha stupa, I went to one tea stall. The taste of the tea was so good and it was made by an old lady, around my grandma’s age. I asked her about the background story of Boudha during her childhood. She started telling me the story of Boudhanath.
Once upon time, Boudha was a very beautiful village adorned in all directions by thousands of trees and flowers, blooming through all four seasons. Different kinds of insects made noises that sounded like bells. Different birds tweeted like a melody-queen.
The main source of local peoples’ income was from agriculture. Almost 90 percent of people were farmers and all the locals were Tamang. Usually, Tamang people worked very hard in the day time but at the night they all needed to have rakshi (local whisky). Boudha’s local people were living autonomously, a simple life.
After finishing the conversation with the old lady, I got to know some back ground story of Boudha. It made me reflect on the history of Boudha and how it has changed and evolved over the years.
In the 50s and 60s, criminals of Kathmandu started entering Boudha. They would commit crimes in the city and then once the criminals crossed Chabhail (a neighboring suburb,) into Boudha, Kathmandu police wouldn’t arrest them. This is how many of criminals from Kathmandu start entering Boudha.
After the revolution in Tibet in 1959, many Tibetan masters along with monks came to Nepal and settled in Boudha. Afterward, Boudha started becoming a modern city. Many of the hippies or dharma-bums around the 1970 came to Boudha in search of gurus, nirvana, liberation and dharma. Before, there were hippies around Kathmandu valley, but one only found them around Thamel and Basantapur. Most of the hippies were found enjoying marijuana around Kathmandu and it was legal to buy it at the market at that time. Now in Boudha, within this small area, there are people from more than 30 different countries, Tibetans, Mongols, Americans, Taiwanese, and so on.
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, with his long vision, established Rangjung Yeshe Institute, to study Buddhist philosophy and meditation skills too. The students of Rangjung Yeshe are from different backgrounds and are staying like one family. This is the benefit of the modern world, where we can enjoy different people ideas, philosophies and histories within one small community.
~ Tenzin Ghale