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Celebration of Buddha birthday at Bouddhanath stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal.
More information – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha’s_Birthday
In Nepal, Buddha’s birthday is celebrated on the full moon day of May. The festival is known by various names, Buddha Jayanti, Buddha Purnima, Vaishakh Purnima and Vesak. The day marks not just the birth of Shakyamuni Gautam Buddha but also the day of his Enlightenment and Mahaparinirvana. But as a gentle effect of the West, the event of the birth is given paramount importance.
Every year thousands of sadhus – holy pilgrims from all over Nepal and India come to Pashupatinath temple, the biggest hindu temple in Nepal located in Kathmandu. And even more devotees come to get blessing from temple’s priests and pay their respect to sadhus on the special festival called Mahashivaratri (The great night of Shiva).
As an act of worshiping to Lord Shiva sadhus smoking ganja (cannabis or marijuana) with chillum a special pipe made from clay and spell mantras. It’s believed that to smoke with sadhu is the way to get blessed on this special day. So many locals come for that as well, especially young people. Officially it’s not allowed, but possible to do.
Only hindu people allowed to go inside the temple and during Mahashivaratri there are special sacred guests staying inside. They called naga babas – holy men who have renounced all material and earthly attachments and accoutrements, including their clothes.
Nepali shamanism is a unique mixture of Hinduism, Buddhism and ancient Bon religion. It’s based on belief in balance and harmony between human beings, nature and divine. People turn to shamans to get healing, blessing and protection in both physical and spiritual aspects of life.
In Nepal shamans commonly called “Jhakri” or “Dhami”, but every ethnic group has its own special word as well. The main ethnic group in Timal area are Tamangs. Originally related to Tibetian culture, tamangs have their own rich traditions and spiritual practices. Continue reading
Paropakar orphanage is the first non-government organisation in Nepal. It was established in Kathmandu in 1953 by Daya Bir Singh Kansakar, a renowned social work pioneer.
“Paropakar” the word derived from Sanskrit language means “Doing good to others”. Doing good to others is the basic spirit of oriental philosophy, culture and civilisation. Continue reading
Poy Sang Long (thai. “Festival of jewel sons”) is one of the main Buddhist festivals celebrated by Shan (Thai Yai) community in Myanmar and Northern Thailand. Literally, it’s a novice ordination ceremony. Young boys aged between 7 and 14 are ordained as novices to learn the Buddhist doctrines. It’s believed that they will gain merit ordaining for their parents.
Location: Pai, Maehongson province, Northern Thailand
Photo: Artem Zhushman