Some people say that Buddhism is more of a philosophy than a religion. I guess you can use which label you want but while traveling I have seen so many monks an nuns walking around with a smile in their eyes looking so happy. So wanting to learn a bit more what it is all about I decided to educate myself a bit.
The monastery is beautifully located on a hilltop near Boudhanath just outside Kathmandu. The first temple in this place was built in 1971 by the initiative of two lamas that had fled from Tibet in 1959. Today it is home for more than 350 monks, lamas, teachers and workers. Kopan is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery and a part of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (Mahayana is one of the two main branches in Buddhism). Kopan has been especially famous for teaching Buddhism to Westeners since the early 70′. The course I attended in is called “Discover Buddhism” and is a ten day introduction to basic concepts and meditation.
Life lessons in the Kathmandu valley
An experience like this is hard to summarize in a few sentences but we have had great teachings by a Swedish nun and a Tibetan munk, we have practiced meditation and we have had open discussions to deepen our knowledge. One thing I will remember is the complexity of the topics. Talks about anger, ignorance, attachments, compassion, impermanence and selflessness – I don’t think I have been this mentally challenged for many years. So interesting! Another thing I take away is how much we all loved the wonderful laugh our teachers had. They laughed often and it was a contagious almost childish giggle that seems to come from a very happy place within. Imagine how the world would be with more laughter and compassion.
“It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.”
/Thich Nath Hanh