In simple Buddhism is a way of life and based on philosophy, the supreme lord Buddha known as Gautam Buddha or Sidhartha, was a prince born in the South West Nepal at Lumbini area, history shows that he was born around 2,600 years ago. Since young age he was very gentle and was in search of truth of life, he left the worldly pleasure and materlistic world turning into a simple monk after meditation for many years and then he got enlightened with wisdom known as ‘Buddha’ he was made into Buddhahood ( Wise man) and then he came to know why people and living being suffer.
So, teaching his thoughts and philosophy he managed to gather large number of followers the first followers known as Bodhisattva. The first well known person was Emperor Ashoka who conquered most of Northern India during his time, after too much bloodshed in battle he got converted to Buddhism.
At present there are many sects and types of Buddhism, the main one known as Bigger Wheel “The Mayana” at present known as Tibetan Buddhism, the other Smaller Wheel “The Hinyana” where large number of this sect are all around South and Far East from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and some in Vietnam and Malaysia and in Indonesia as well. The Mayana followed largely in North East India, Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and Mongolia, China all the way to Korea and Japan as well.
The Mayana Buddhism includes tantric and miracles started by Guru Padamasambava ‘Guru Ringpoche’ in early 6th Century, while Hinaya the older ones does not includes miracle or tantric, but follows the way of Buddha’s saying as it was.
While in Kathmandu visit the main Buddhist monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism of Kapan & White Gompa, an interesting Buddhist religious sites and monasteries of Kopan and White Monasteries near Bouddhanath and Swayambhunath area.
The history of Kopan and White Monastery is interesting for a day visit first visiting at Kopan monastery where Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe after an exile from Tibet in 1959, met the Indian refugee camp of Buxa Duar and came to Nepal in 1968 with their first disciple, Zina Rachevsky. They first resided near Boudhanath stupa, a few miles east of Kathmandu.
After a couple of years, however, they were able to own an old house with a small amount of land on top of the Kopan hill which belong to astrologer of the royal palace.
The first building was constructed in 1971 -72, funded almost completely by the lama’s increasing number of western disciples.
There the lamas established the Nepal Buddhist Mahayana Center Gompa. The vision Lama Yeshe (1935–84) and Lama Zopa Rinpoche had when they founded Kopan Monastery in 1969 was to produce human beings with a good heart and the wisdom needed to serve others all over the world. Lama Yeshe’s idea was to create a monastery for young Himalayan monks and nuns, and a center for the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism for foreign students, and he moved to actualize his vision.
The first monks joined soon after the land was purchased. They were mostly young boys from the Solu Khumbu and Manang area of Nepal. Many of them were sent to the new, budding monastery by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, who was at that time re-establishing the Lawudo Retreat Center, a please where he meditated in his previous life.
White Gompa (Monastery) situated northern part of Kathmandu valley it is a famous monastery for Tibetan Buddhism. With its identity as Buddhist shrines it’s the place where you can feel peace state of mind. Thick green forest with hilly setting the area hosts lots of monasteries. Its takes about 1 hr and 20 min car drive from core of Kathmandu valley to head White Monastery. Main attraction of the area is White Monastery where Tibetan Buddhism practiced as years ago. This famous monastery and the whole area is known as White Monastery due to white paint wash.
With Tibetan Buddhist cultural practice the area presents Kathmandu valley in a panoramic view with Tamang culture. It have a unique mixture you can notice during your trip is fusion of two culture and philosophy traditional Tibetan and modern Western. Here you can experience ancient Tibetan culture and practice as well as Nepalese traditional Newari. White Monastery only grants permission to enter only on Saturday. So your hike must for Saturday, public holiday in Nepal.
Ichhangu Narayan, among four Narayan (temples of Lord Bishnu) of Kathmandu in four different directions along with a Cave also known as White Cave is major attraction here. Ichhungu Narayan VDC supplies drinking water for Kathmandu valley with water supply activities you can have close view to works of stone mine. White Gompa(Monastery) Sightseeing Besides of the White Monastery local used to work on stone mine for their building purpose. From White Monastery you can observe Nagarjun forest, Jamachok views, Shivapuri, Budhanilkantha, Sundarijal with closer view of Kathmandu valley settlements.
The other interesting Buddhism area is in the South of Kathmandu at Pharping where there is a cave and monasteries, Pharping has its own ancient history, it is considered as a village of history. It’s here Great Guru of Padmavasambha” Guru Ringpoche’ of Buddhism stayed in meditation on his travel on route Tibet. It’s also famous as a religious place with Asura Cave, Gorakhanath and Sheshnarayan Cave at Pharping. It’s important religious place for Buddhist pilgrimages as well.