! Spiritual Pursuits in Nepal
Pursuits in Nepal
travelers come to Nepal for meditation, yoga,
astrology, retreats and to merge with the mighty
Himalayas. Activities are mainly centered around
the Kathmandu Valley, though Pokhara is becoming
popular with more options becoming available.
The following gives you a guideline of different
spiritual activities and natural healing in
Vipassana is one of the most ancient techniques.
Long lost to people, it was rediscovered by
Gautam Buddha more than 2500 years ago. Vipassana
means 'to see things as they really are'. It
is an art of living which frees the individual
from all the negativities of mind, such as anger,
greed and ignorance. It is a practice which
develops positive, creative energy for the betterment
of the individual and society.
The path (Dhamma) is a universal
remedy for universal problems and has nothing
to do with any religion. It can be practiced
freely by anyone without conflict with race,
caste or religion, in any place, and at any
time and it will prove beneficial to everyone.
Like the other significant parts of the Nepali
heritage Astrology too links its origin to the
Vedas, the major source of virtually everything
(for the Hindus) written thousands of years
Mesh (Aries), Brish (Taurus),
Mithun (Gemini), Karkat (Cancer), Simha (Leo),
Kanya (Virgo), Tula (Libra), Brishchik (Scorpio),
Dhanu (Sagittarius), Makar (Capricorn), Kumbha
(Aquarius) and Meen (Pisces) are the 12 signs
of the zodiac, and in Nepali they are called
In Nepal the moment a baby is
born, the first thing they do is note down the
exact time of birth. Then it is given to the
astrologer, who according to the position of
the different planets in the solar system at
that precise moment prepares a Cheena (horoscope).
Cheena is a rectangular chart, which indicates
the degree of influence of the planets from
the solar world on the people born to a particular
Rashi. Highlighting the positive and negative
aspects of ones life. When Nepali's are having
a difficult time they go to their astrologer
with their Cheena for consultation.
Astrologers are also consulted
on various occasions like rice feeding, sacared
thread and weddings. Tika in Dashain, Bhai Tika
in Tihar, including a series of national festivals,
are occasions when the astrologers are involved
in choosing auspicious hours for these festivities
to take place. When a person dies their Cheena
is taken to the crematorium or ghat along with
their dead body.
Yoga = 'Unity', 'Oneness'. Came from the Sanskrit
word "YOG" which means "TO JOIN".
To many, the thought of yoga has an image of
postures (Asanas) to develop flexibility, general
body health and awareness. This is just the
beginning. While the main point is to reach
the highest goal of the spiritual path, practicing
yoga can give benefits to everyone regardless
to their spiritual aims.
The Eight Fold Path of Yoga looks
deeply into the morality of living. It consists
of: Yama (self restraints), Niyama (self observances)
Asana, Pranayama (breath techniques), Pratyhara
(withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration),
Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (identification
with pure consciousness).
There is an inter-relationship
between yoga and meditation and you can decide
to focus more on either one or both together.
The Himalayas have played a big role in self
realization. It's isolation from the world and
ideal environment makes Nepal an ideal place
to practice yoga.
Nepal is the birth place of one of the greatest
healers known, Shakyamuni Gautam Buddha. Today
in the Kathmandu Valley many monasteries and
schools is where the teachings of Shakyamuni
Buddha can be heard, the same as it was two
and a half thousand years ago.
What makes Buddhism unique is
its scientific and logical explanation of life,
without an outside creator. The Buddha tells
us we are responsible for our lives and environment,
and that with practical methods we can achieve
enlightenment in this very lifetime. Buddha's
teachings of peace are practiced as a way of
life and are more relevant today than ever before.
Peace begins from within our own hearts and
Two of the largest Buddhist pilgrimage
sites in the world are in the Kathmandu Valley.
Bouddhanath and Swayambhunath Stupas attract
thousands of Buddhists and visitors each day.
Many monasteries and schools of Buddhism offer
teachings for those wishing for peace of mind
In ancient legends, it was taught
that Shambala lies in the heart of the Himalaya
and the Himalaya lie in the heart of many Buddhists,
where Shambala exists. To see, experience and
listen to the words of Buddha there are many
places in Nepal and you will not be disappointed.
Ayurveda has been practiced in Nepal since the
beginning of time. The Himalaya is the base
of purity, clarity and harmony, which is the
goal of every living creature. Nepal is one
of the richest countries in flora ranging from
tropical to alpine in such a small area. A lot
of the flora is use for medicinal use and is
considered part of the cultural heritage of
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word meaning
"the science of life" or "a natural
way of living". Ayurveda includes yoga,
meditation and the natural and spiritual sciences.
The objectives of Ayurveda are the development
of awareness to lead to desirelessness, the
promotion of health and long life, prevention
and curing of disease, and to understand and
to correct imbalances and restore harmony in
Homoeopathy is a system of natural remedies
made from animal, vegetable, and mineral extracts.
These remedies are prepared so they are non
toxic and do not cause side effects.
Homeopathy and Ayruveda have their
similarities, but in homeopathy there is an
unusual thing where different medicines are
used often to treat the same condition in different
people, and the same medicine to treat different
conditions. In Homeopathy it is the patient
that the practitioner looks at rather than the
disease or illness. Ayurveda and Homeopathy
can be used together.
The Ministry of Health has a homeopathic
division, and practitioners and pharmacies can
be found all over Kathmandu city.
Tibetan medicine is one of the oldest known
medical traditions. It is a science, an art
and a philosophy that provides a holistic approach
to health care.
Diagnostic techniques in Tibetan Medicine includes
visual observation, touch and interrogation.
Visual Observation : This
involves checking the patients skin complexion,
the color of blood, nails, faces, and other
general conditions. Special attention is looked
at the patients tongue and urine.
Touch : Pulse reading forms
the most important touching method in Tibetan
medicine. After ensuring an important set of
preconditions, the physician proceeds with the
pulse diagnosis. By placing the three middle
fingers on the patient's radial arteries.
forms an important clinical aspect of the diagnosis.
There are three main elements to an interrogation.
Determining the causative factors, determining
the site of the illness, studying the signs
and symptoms; this involves the doctor asking
the patient about what sort of food and drink
they have been consuming and what kind of physical
and mental behaviors they have been experiencing.
Tibetan medicines take various
forms, from decoctions, powders, general pills,
precious pills, and syrups, and are prescribed
in small doses - the emphasis Tibetan medicine
places on gentle treatment.
Faith Healers and Tantric Healing
in the Himalayas
The "Jhankris" are shamans, who, with
garlands of bells around their necks dance and
chant at the beat of the drum, which they play
in the possession of spirits. The ritual sometimes
involves sacrifice of either a rooster or a
black goat. They are simple people, a broomstick,
some grains of husked rice, a pinch of ash,
incense sticks, water, charged with tantric
spirits is all they need to come out with a
miracle to heal.
India saw its great tantric period
between the 7th and 13th centuries. The visit
of Padmansambhaba, a great Indian spiritual
master, during the 8th century, introduced his
own type of Buddhism to Tibet After the 13th
century came the Mugal invasion in India which
was responsible for the tantric cult to come
to Nepal and Tibet. When in Nepal "Gubhajus"
who came from the highest priestly class of
the Newars got his hands on to the cult. But
it was the Lamas from the monasteries in Tibet
who had access to it. Over the centuries tantrism
has become a big part of faith healing both
in Nepal and Tibet.