The most sacred religious hub for the Nepali Budhdhist and Hindu pilgrims alike, Swayambhunath stupa has been center of faith and belief. For many of those who consider the name as tonque twister, it stands as "the monkey temple". But it is important to know that Swayambhu means "self existent one" in Sanskrit.
The first evidence of the presence of the Swayambunath Stupa is a stone engraving of the 5th century, but historians generally think that it is already in the 1st century that a shrine existed. Even before then, animist ceremonies were probably performed on this mountaintop. Swayambunath is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Nepal and has an antique aura, particularly if one approaches pilgrims on foot.
Know about how Swayambhunath Stupa along with Kathmandu originated?
The whole valley was formerly lined by a huge lake from which a lotus blossomed, according to the Swayambhu Purana. It is called Swayambhu, meaning "Self-created." It derives its name from a continuous fire (svyabhu), atop which a stupa was built subsequently.
Sacred monkeys are housed in the temple north-west area. They are holy, since the stupa's construction is linked to Manjushri, the bodhisattva of knowledge and learning. His hair was supposed to be short, but he allowed it to grow long, contributing to the emergence of head lice. It is believed that these monkeys living in the swayambhu area developed from the head lice.
Interesting right? These legends of Swayambhunath makes it one of the most sacred place of Nepal and it is also listed in UNESCO world heritage site.
So, what does Swayambhunath symbolize?
The dome at the bottom is the whole globe. When one awakens from the bindings of the world, he reaches the point of enlightenment (symbolized by the eyes of wisdom and compassion). The 13 pinnacles on the summit reflect the fact that sensitive beings must go through the 13 levels of spiritual realizations in order to attain illumination or the Buddhahood.
On each one of the four sides of the main stupa there are a huge pair of eyes that symbolise wisdom and mercy. The third eye is above each set of eyes. The third eye that functions as communications to the Heavenly creatures emanates cosmic ray when the Buddha is preaching so that those interested might descend on earth to listen to the Buddha.
The infernal beings and entities under the human realm cannot come to earth, yet the cosmic rays ease their pain when Buddha speaks. The nose-symbol, curled, is portrayed between the two eyes (also called the Wisdom Eyes) and it seems like a question mark that is a Nepali sign of number one. This symbol signifies the oneness of everything in the world and the sole way to illumination by Buddha's teachings.
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