Sacred Site of Namo Buddha
Khenpo Thrangu Rinpoche, born in Tibet in 1933, is considered to be the ninth incarnation of Thrangu Rinponche. In 1976 he established the Namo Buddha retreat center located about two and a half hours from Kathmandu in Nepal on a piece of land below his own property. Namo Buddha is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists south of the Himalayas, as well as being one of the holiest Buddhist sites in the world.
Namo Buddha is reputed to be the place where, in a previous life as a prince, Shakyamuni Buddha sacrificed his body to a starving tigress to feed her newborn cubs, which she had been about to devour. Namo Buddha is known by Tibetans and others in the Himalayan regions as “Takmo Lu Jin” meaning “Tigress Body Generosity”. A cave containing statues of the prince together with the tigress and her cubs can be seen at Namo Buddha, and one of the stupas at Namo Buddha is said to enshrine the bones and hair of Shakyamuni Buddha. In an area where it is a possibility to encounter a tiger, the local people believe that saying the name of Namo Buddha provides a measure of protection against tigers.
Namo Buddha retreat center consists of a college for higher Buddhist studies (known as Shedra), as well as a secular school and dormitories for young resident monks, a translation and publication house for Buddhist literature, accommodation for staff and a number of guesthouses.
The main temple at Namo Buddha was designed by Thrangu Rinpoche to symbolically represent the three paths (yanas) to liberation. The Mahakala temple at Namo Buddha is designed to house the statue of Mahakala, the chief protector of the Kagyu lineage and has a group of resident monks who perform continual Mahakala puja (worship) at this temple. The Dewachen temple contains a shrine with a statue of Amitabha – the Buddha of Infinite Light and Infinite Life. The temple has been built specifically to house the cremated remains of the deceased, which is done in a small compartment along with the deceased person’s name and a photograph if desired. Anyone wishing to make use of the temple for this purpose can do so on a monetary donation basis and the monks of Namo Buddha say daily prayers for the deceased whose remains are housed in the Dewachen temple.
Visitors to Nepal agree that it is a fascinating country of rugged beauty, which has much to offer tourists who are looking for an experience that is out of the ordinary. Namo Buddha is an excellent example of many aspects of life which the Nepali people hold sacred.