The Story of Swayambhunath Stupa

The Story of Swayambhunath Stupa

Date of Advice:
June 2011
Date Posted:
November 2020

This letter was sent to an old student a few weeks after Rinpoche had manifested a stroke while in Bendigo, Australia, in April 2011. Rinpoche begins with a teaching on transforming sickness and then discusses the legend of Swayambhunath, a sacred site in Kathmandu, Nepal.

My very dear one,
Thank you very, very much. Here, I am experiencing the shortcomings of my self-cherishing thought, karma. If my mind is good and practicing strongly, then through this experience [of a stroke] I am taking on the suffering of all sentient beings, particularly those who have diabetes, high blood pressure and paralysis, to quickly remove their suffering, every second to remove their suffering from beginningless rebirths. Each time think like this, then limitless skies of merit are collected and this creates the cause of enlightenment, and brings more and more benefit for numberless sentient beings.

If my mind is good then I can practice, then there is benefit, so [my sickness] can be very, very positive, incredibly positive, and the quickest way to achieve enlightenment.

I am offering my sickness to the one object of refuge, for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s long life, to cause even one day of his longer life. Also for the long life of all the holy beings in the world, as well as the long life of those who benefit others; the long life of the Sangha who preserve the Buddhadharma; the long life of the benefactors; the long life of any person who recites OM MANI PADME HUM; the long life of those who do good things for others, and the long life of those who practice morality.

But my mind is like water, so weak. Not solid like iron rock, so I apologize for that.

Swayambhunath is incredible, most precious, nothing like this exists in the world. In a Tibetan text, the Kangyur, in particular it mentions a mountain called Langri Ruden, where the Buddha came and predicted that Kathmandu would be full of water, like a lake, and a crystal stupa—not made by a person, but a manifestation of dharmakaya—would appear in the lake. The Buddha actually mentioned this in the text; the Buddha predicted this in the text. It’s unbelievable, unbelievable.

I had this text translated many years ago into Nepali to offer to the king and all the ministers, but it didn’t happen because I didn’t know how to offer it directly. One monk mentioned having a party and then giving the books to the king and the ministers but I didn’t do that yet. But some other Nepali people may have it. It was translated from Tibetan into Nepali many years ago by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s translator, who translates into Nepali when His Holiness teaches in Siliguri, which is between Darjeeling and Nepal.

The crystal stupa was covered by earth and then that became Swayambhunath mountain. It is said that Nagarjuna’s hair was sprinkled around the mountain and became trees. There is a similar story about the trees at Reting Monastery in Tibet. Higher beings see those trees differently; they see all the trees as manifestations, not as ordinary trees.

On top is the stupa. When Padmasambhava came from Tibet, he built one later. I don’t remember exactly, but in the text mentions that story. It is very interesting, but there are different stories and different views; some accept, some don’t accept.

I met a Nepalese man who said there is another stupa inside Swayambhunath and someone came from India and tried to find it, but could not find it. There is a new text that I have about Swayambhunath that has a different story.

There is similar story in China, told by Dhakpa Rinpoche, who is my Guru, who gave many initiations to different lamas, geshes, many lineages, requested by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to give to Ling Rinpoche. Dhakpa Rinpoche said in China there is similar story, but he doesn’t think it’s that one; he thinks it’s according to the text, as I mentioned before. So you don’t have to believe every one of the stories; you must examine them.

The story I mentioned is very common in the Kangyur, the Buddha’s teachings. It is put together in the Zungdu [Collection of Dharanis], that also has the Diamond Cutter Sutra, Arya Manjushri [prayer] and many different texts to solve the different problems.

This story is very common, and [there is another story] about Buddha Kashyapa Stupa. There is the arhat Kashyapa and Buddha Kashyapa [the third buddha of this eon], so in the text it talks about the importance of the Kashyapa Stupa, but I’m not sure if it refers to the buddha or the arhat. I have to find out.

Regarding these stories, only someone who has omniscient mind or clairvoyance, who can see many thousands of years back, can really know and can tell you about the stupas.

With much love and prayers for you, yourself, and for your wife and the dog.