Buddhism has been a major religion in Asian countries, however, in Nepal, the religion itself has always been considered the second, after Hinduism. Although the fact has been that, Nepali people are proud to tell you that the Lord Buddha was born in Nepal. For those who are going to enjoy Nepal vacation, especially who are Buddhists, this Nepal travel blog will give you an insight into Buddhism in Nepal.
History of Buddhism in Nepal
The history of Nepal Buddhism dated back in the lifetime of Gautama Buddha – Prince Siddhartha Gautama. Legend had it that he refused the luxurious life in the palace to lead a religious life. After years, he finally claimed to reach to the truth about the existence of creature and the root of misery as well as the human being’s suffering. Due to that, he could reveal the path of salvation. Time went on, he was called the Enlightened One, the saint of the Sakyas, or Sakyamuni.
Buddhism in Nepal
As I said before, Buddhism has been always the second popular Nepal religion. The fact that roughly 10.74% of the total population in Nepal follows Buddhism and there are many cases show that Hindus and Buddhists share the same temples for worshipping and conduct respective practices. A good example would be the Swayambhhunath Stupa, also known as one of the World Heritage sites in Nepal. It is a place where you can see both Buddhists and Hindus come there to worship and practice their religious along with spiritual techniques.
Buddhist Tradition in Nepal
There are many Buddhist traditions existing in Nepal:
• Mahayana Buddhism
• Newarese Buddhism
• Tibetan Buddhism
• Vajrayana Buddhism
It is said that both Tibetan Buddhism and Vajrayana Buddhism are at the same as people believed that Tibetan Buddhism was the origin of Vajrayana Buddhism. Newarese Buddhism is mainly followed by Shakya ethnic groups or the descendant of the Shakya Clan during the time of Prince Siddhartha.
Nepal Buddhist Holy Sites | Buddhist Temples and Monasteries in Nepal
Obviously, Lumbini will be one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Nepal because this place is where Prince Siddhartha Gautama – the founder of Buddhism was given birth. Along with the site, there are several Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal that I will list them below:
The temple was opened for public since 2003 and as I said above, this is a place where Lord Buddha was born. The Lumbini is home to the original Maya Devi temple constructed in the 3rd century B.C. Enter this site, you can see the stone pillar or the oldest record of Buddha which was erected by King Ashoka in 249 B.C. Lumbini is the most important Buddhist site in Nepal.
Swayambhunath Stupa, a golden spire crowning a conical wooded hill, is one of the most sacred and enigmatic Buddhist sites in Nepal. As I said before, this is where you can see both Buddhists and Hindus gather together to worship deity and Buddha. Also, these Buddhist sites are called the Monkey Temple mainly because after the pilgrims and priests have departed, there are hundreds of monkeys coming to the temple.
This Nepal Buddhist site was built in the 14th century consisting of a giant dome on the top that sits a Buddhist pyramid tower. Although having existed for a long time, the Boudhanath still did not become the center of Tibetan Buddhism until 1950 when the refugees immigrate from China to Kathmandu.
Buddha Statues in Nepal
In the country where the craftsmen’s skills are globally recognized, it is far too easy to understand why in Nepal, there are thousands of Buddha statues located and they are known for their characteristics to display the teachings of Buddha. You can witness lots of ancient Nepali Buddha Statues in several Buddhist sites like Swayambhunath Temple and Lumbini. As Buddhism in Nepal, Buddha statues are considered the symbol of learning leading to the path to Nirvana.
Type of Buddha Statues
Buddha statues, in Nepal, are quite similar to other Buddhist countries and they are bought and collected by many monasteries, shrines. Below, I will list some types of Buddha statues in Nepal for you to know:
• Laughing Buddha
• Maitreya Buddha Statues
• Vairochana Buddha Statues
• Amitabha Buddha Statues
• Shakyamuni Buddha Statues