Fascinating. Old worldish. Beautiful. Religious. Smiling. Like nowhere on Earth.
This country is between the world’s two largest: India and China. Still, it’s never been conquered. Nepal is tough, powerful, proud, kind, and when necessary, fierce. I love it here.
Over the next week or so, I’ll share some thoughts, experiences, and insights I’ve gained during my time in this place.
I’ll also share about our Convoy of Hope interns who are in the midst of some incredible and important work.
First I wanted to share a bit about the country’s religious history. It’s an intersection of two of the world’s largest religions—Buddhism and Hinduism (with many Muslims as well). The founder of Buddhism was a Nepali man. The country is next to Tibet and contains numerous Buddhist Stupas (temples). Approximately 10% of the people are Buddhist and about 80% Hindu (about 1% are Christian). I’m learning that the Buddhist faith makes room for other beliefs and so often Buddhism/Hinduism are combined in various ways across Nepal.
With hopes of better understanding the Nepali people, we visited two of their largest Buddhist temples, the Boudhanath Stupa and the Swayambhunath Temple, also known as the Monkey Temple. At the Bouodhanath Stupa we saw thousands of people walking around the large statue of Buddha (and many smaller statues), spinning prayer wheels, burning incense, and offering sacrifices.
While the religion would take much more than a blog entry to explain, one element is their belief that the more prayers they pray the better off they’ll be in this life and their next. Hence, spinning these prayer wheels means (among other things) they’re praying many prayers and will have a better chance at a good life/afterlife.
I can’t help thinking about how many Christians think that “spinning wheels” somehow gets us closer to God. While faith without works is indeed dead, I’m thankful that salvation isn’t something I must earn…because I never could. I’m thankful for His grace and for redemption though Jesus.
We also visited one of the most “holy” Hindu temples in the world. I’ll share about it & one other place of worship tomorrow…it was a day we won’t forget.
(update, wrote this in Nepal, but just made it home)