Triten Norbutse & Holy Caves | Yeru Nepal Pilgrimage 2022 #2
The first pilgrimage site we traveled on bus to was Triten Norbutse monastery. We got up early for breakfast, then got on a bus for a short journey to the monastery.
After a climb up its many steps, we reached the monastery, which sits at the top of a large hill, overlooking the city of Kathmandu. It has quite a beautiful viewpoint.
Inside the temple, after first offering scarves to the main altar, the many statues and wall paintings were explained by Rinpoche.
After visiting the main temple, we had the great opportunity to pray together with Rinpoche in the secret temple above the main temple. While most of the statues in the main temple are peaceful, the secret temple’s altar has the five main wrathful deities of Bön, as well as Magyu Sangchok Gyalpo. At the center, is also the great peaceful deity Kunzang Gyalwa Dupa, a deity we saw at the center of several temples during our trip.
On the floor above the secret temple that is a small room filled with a large, beautiful, three-dimensional mandala rarely shown to visitors. It was truly a wonderful and fortunate experience to have been able to witness it.
It was around this time we were informed by our guides that something odd was occurring. Apparently, there was a Chinese delegate staying in a hotel near to the monastery. The Nepali police were unsure why our group was at the monastery so near to the delegate, so they did not want us to leave the monastery.
We used the time as an opportunity to see the monastery library and have some tea in the dining room.
It was after tea that we were informed that we could leave the monastery, but the police did not want us to go to the Monkey Temple, the next planned spot along the pilgrimage. Instead, the police escorted out of city limits, and we continued on to our next location—some of the holy caves outside of town.
Phakpa Shingkun, Pharping Yangla Shöd — Holy Caves
Before heading to the holy caves, we stopped for a nice lunch at a restaurant. It was a beautiful little patio overlooking a lake. It started raining, but the view and breeze were wonderful.
Later in the afternoon, we made it to the first holy cave. While Bön considers this to be a holy cave of a great yogi, Buddhists also claim the cave as one of the meditation caves of Padmasambhava. Outside the cave is a holy handprint pressed into the rockface. We took our time meditating and receiving blessings here.
Within walking distance are other caves, one of which has the self-arising appearance of Tara.
After exploring, we drove to still another nearby cave, taking time to explore the ancient grounds, offer tea lamps, and meditating there.