Takmo Lujin (Namo Buddha, Nepal)

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Palzang Jangchub
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Takmo Lujin (Namo Buddha, Nepal)

Post by Palzang Jangchub » Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:20 am

One of the most holy pilgrimage sites in all of Nepal, right up there with the much more well known Swayambhu Stupa, is the site known to the Tibetans as Takmo Lujin (literally "giving the body to the tigress"). It is the site where the Buddha, in a former life, did exactly that --- an act of completely selfless generosity. For the rest of us, this site is known as Namo Buddha ("homage to the Buddha" in Nepalized Sanskrit).

On the website for Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche's monastery, Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Chöling, I found the following videos. The first relates the story of why the site is so sacred and the history of the chaitya (a.k.a. stupa) there. The second shows in greater detail the main stupa and the surrounding stupas and shrines. The last is simply a dashboard cam of part of Thrangu Rinpoche's drive up, but gives an excellent view of the site from afar.

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I personally feel that Namo Buddha is especially important as a place of pilgrimage, and that any practitioner of Chöd in particular should put it on their bucket list, as it's kinda the place to be for lujin. I only got to go there on a day trip back in 2010, but it was one of the most memorable of the whole 2 months I was in Nepal. By far the best photos of my trip were taken there. Some friends and I raised lines of prayer flags and helped with the scattering of paper lungta during a smoke puja. And Rinpoche's monastery is the most amazingly beautiful gompa I've been in, hands down.

This year I am blessed to be participating in a 9-week-long program at the monastery, so I'll be staying there and fitting in as much practice as I can in between studying Tibetan language. If anyone wants me to sponsor any pujas or do prayers on the behalf of them or their loved ones, feel free to PM me with details.

Otherwise, I'd love to hear any stories the lot of you might have about this place or see any photos you may have. It's such an amazing place, and I think more people deserve to know how truly special it is.
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"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྩ་བའི་བླ་མ་སྐྱབས་རྗེ་མགར་ཆེན་ཁྲི་སྤྲུལ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ཁྱེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ།།
རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་མཁས་གྲུབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ། ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོཿ

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heart
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Re: Takmo Lujin (Namo Buddha, Nepal)

Post by heart » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:02 am

I visited Namo Buddha maybe 20 years ago. There was no road you had to walk from Dhulikhel, the last village. I remember there was a place where a place outside Dhulikhel where the Hindus practiced offering live animals to Kali(?). Anyway, Namo Buddha was quite wonderful. Great that you can spend some time there!

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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Re: Takmo Lujin (Namo Buddha, Nepal)

Post by Palzang Jangchub » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:11 pm

I can only imagine what things were like back then. Seeing pictures from the '70s & '80s, even Boudha looks very different --- with much less city around it --- and of course that's downtown Kathmandu. Being from the States and disillusioned by how built up everything is here thanks to consumer culture, I'm sure I'm romanticizing it quite a bit, but still...

There's certainly a road going up to Namo Buddha now. IIRC, on the way back down we saw a guy in the bus in front of us get out of his seat, climb out the window, and get on top... all while it was still moving! Maybe that's more normal than I realize, but it certainly shocked me. I mean, at least wait until it's stopped before you get up there, right?

The only thing that I had on my 2010 trip that I wish I still did was my camera. Someone stole it not long after I got back, so I guess my smartphone will have to do. Managed to get the photos off of it before that happened, though. Maybe I'll post some of them here for others to enjoy, and to give you a look at how it's changed over the years.
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"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྩ་བའི་བླ་མ་སྐྱབས་རྗེ་མགར་ཆེན་ཁྲི་སྤྲུལ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ཁྱེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ།།
རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་མཁས་གྲུབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ། ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོཿ

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Re: Takmo Lujin (Namo Buddha, Nepal)

Post by conebeckham » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:39 pm

Back in the mid 90's, I had to get out of my jeep and push it, on the way to Namo Buddha. Good Times.

At that time there was a retreat going on...it was unique in that you could visit even while people were on strict retreat.

It's a very blessed place, worth going to and worth practicing at, for sure.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Re: Takmo Lujin (Namo Buddha, Nepal)

Post by pemachophel » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:58 pm

The Namo Buddha Stupa is in the village below Thrangu Rinpoche's monastery. So, if you're staying at the monastery, you'll have to walk down there to do practice actually at the stupa.

Good luck and best wishes.

:namaste:
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

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Re: Takmo Lujin (Namo Buddha, Nepal)

Post by Punya » Sat Dec 26, 2015 2:44 am

The story of the Buddha in a previous life offering his body to the tigress is found in the Golden Light Sutra - see Chapter 18 (p.84-96) of the English A4 version
http://fpmt.org/education/teachings/sut ... /download/
We abide nowhere. We possess nothing.
~Chatral Rinpoche

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Re: Takmo Lujin (Namo Buddha, Nepal)

Post by tingdzin » Sat Dec 26, 2015 3:32 pm

I first visited in monsoon season 1975. Had to walk from Dhulikhel, watching for leeches. Of course, Thrangu R.'s monastery was not there then, but over the ridge and down from where his place is now, there was a very small gomba surrounded by forest, occupied solely by a wild-looking refugee ngakpa. Went back and did a month retreat in a small room at T R's place, I think in the early 90s, took a vehicle up, but walked down through Panauti. A lot less forest and a few more farmers with loud radios, but still a fine place.

Best wishes.

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Re: Takmo Lujin (Namo Buddha, Nepal)

Post by Punya » Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:41 pm

It's lovely to hear these earlier stories.

I took a day trip there in 2012, hiring a guide and a driver. The road trip was fine, I've heard it was much more difficult in earlier days. Many Tibetans were there on the day I visited.

Getting there involved a 3 hour walk via Thrangu monastery. The gompa had the most amazing interior! The bonus was walking through beautiful farming villages which seemed a long way from the pollution of the Kathmandu Valley.

Thank you for starting this thread Karma Jinpa.
We abide nowhere. We possess nothing.
~Chatral Rinpoche

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Re: Takmo Lujin (Namo Buddha, Nepal)

Post by Palzang Jangchub » Sat Dec 26, 2015 10:35 pm

Thank you, Punya. That's always been my favorite Jataka tale. At the site it's said that this is what put Shakyamuni Buddha over the top with his merit, getting him to train as a bodhisattva in Tushita.

Tingdzin, do you know what happened to the forest gompa and the lone ngakpa? I wasn't aware of any other gompas while I was there either time. Obviously Thrangu Tashi Yangtse is by far the most eye-catching, but if there are other places to visit, it would be nice to know for next time.

The roads are not much better than in your time, Cone, except for where the monastery has paved just before the entry to the Thrangu Tashi Yangtse itself. We got stuck in some of the washed out bits in the taxi I used on more than one occasion. And it was still possible to visit while people were in retreat there, at least where the ngöndro drupkhang was concerned. A few of use were allowed in there to speak with Lama Yönten on the lawn, and were invited back to take Sojong vows in some of the ancillary buildings. Can't remembered exactly what they were for, but whatever the case, I have some great photos of the interior of one of them. Lots of great buddharupas and photos I hadn't seen anywhere else. We were told that the gönkhang was off limits, however, despite both our and the young monks' Tibetan classrooms being located at the bottom floor of the same building. That made for an interesting mix of sounds, let me tell you!

Really wish they'd allow laypeople to do retreat at the ngöndro drupkhang there, but as it stands it's only there for the monks. I think we need to make full ngöndro retreats a thing here in the West so that those who don't want to spend years and years doing it piece-meal can do the practice intensely, but maybe that's just me.
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"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྩ་བའི་བླ་མ་སྐྱབས་རྗེ་མགར་ཆེན་ཁྲི་སྤྲུལ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ཁྱེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ།།
རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་མཁས་གྲུབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ། ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོཿ

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Re: Takmo Lujin (Namo Buddha, Nepal)

Post by Punya » Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:21 am

Thank you, Punya. That's always been my favorite Jataka tale. At the site it's said that this is what put Shakyamuni Buddha over the top with his merit, getting him to train as a bodhisattva in Tushita.
I have to confess my interest in visiting was mostly prompted by the vision that Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche had at Namo Buddha about his teachers. However, on arrival, your mind naturally turns to the incredible act of compassion that took place there.
We abide nowhere. We possess nothing.
~Chatral Rinpoche

tingdzin
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Re: Takmo Lujin (Namo Buddha, Nepal)

Post by tingdzin » Sun Dec 27, 2015 2:24 am

Karma Jinpa wrote:Tingdzin, do you know what happened to the forest gompa and the lone ngakpa? I wasn't aware of any other gompas while I was there either time. Obviously Thrangu Tashi Yangtse is by far the most eye-catching, but if there are other places to visit, it would be nice to know for next time.
I don't know what happened to the ngakpa; I saw him in Bauddha a couple of times at special events, but never found out much about him. I'm sure he's not around any more. When I say small gomba, it was just a single village house on a small clearing on the NNW slope of the mountain, which was only a "gomba" because that was where a ngakpa was living and doing his practices, and I think there was something cut into stone about the tiger Jataka (long time ago, don't remember details). No monks, no big lhakhang or anything like that, but they did offer us Tibetan tea. I've noticed that when big religious establishments move in, the earlier ones tend to get squeezed out.

A little off topic, but if you're looking for a place to do a ngondro rather than a strict retreat, it used to be that Tsoknyi Rinpoche's gomba across the ring road and up the hill from Swayambhu had suitable rooms for rent. They were a bit pricey by Nepal standards, but still cheaper then anything you can find in the US. Sometimes you can find places at Pharping (Yangleshod), too, but that's changed incredibly.

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Re: Takmo Lujin (Namo Buddha, Nepal)

Post by Palzang Jangchub » Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:28 am

Are you talking about up that long staircase, where those 4 or so small stupas are? You can offer butterlamps at this rocky outcropping shrine and spin a small prayer wheel in front of the statues with the trilingual placard in Tibetan/Nepali/English. If so, could be he's still there, or someone related to him. I remember meeting with a Tamang lama who serves the local villagers when I went there one day with Lama Yönten and one of his attendants. He offered us nice, refreshingly cold cokes and told us how they believed that in the valley below had once been the palace of prince Mahasattva and his royal family. IIRC, it's said those stupas and the associated land they're built on are in the hands of a family of several brothers, and has been for generations.

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"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme

དྲིན་ཆེན་རྩ་བའི་བླ་མ་སྐྱབས་རྗེ་མགར་ཆེན་ཁྲི་སྤྲུལ་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་ཁྱེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ།།
རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་མཁས་གྲུབ་ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་མཁྱེན་ནོ། ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོཿ

tingdzin
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Re: Takmo Lujin (Namo Buddha, Nepal)

Post by tingdzin » Mon Dec 28, 2015 2:34 am

Wow, very interesting. None of the stuff in these pictures was there before, or at least I didn't see them. I may have to go back one more time to see it all. :) If you don't mind continuing, where is all the stuff in the pics in relation to Thrangu R.'s place?

The ngakpa who used to live at the place I was talking about was definitely a Khampa, a tall, tough-looking guy who didn't speak Nepali too well. He may have had a Tamang consort, though.

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