25th November 2011
Sneaking in for breakfast
around 9am Buddha and headed for Bouddha Temple for breakfast. Technically, you are meant to pay for parking and go through the front gate where tourists pay to enter. But Buddha knew a back route to a little Tibetan tea shop on the edge of the temple. It was definately a locals hang out. Unfortunately they were all out of salty Tibetan tea, awww schucks…. so had to have normal sweet Nepali tea to go along with our freshly baked Tibetan bread, almost like roti. It was a perfect start to the day.
Breakfast Tibetan Style
My Search for a Singing Bowl
After breakfast it was time to find the shop I had seen on my first day in Kathmandu when Buddha had brought me here the first time, it was time to find the bowl that would sing for me.
When I told people I was going to Nepal, everyone said “great, where are you going to trek?”. My reply was always “Trek? I am going to find my singing bowl.” This was often answered with “Singing what???”. Yes, since the first time I saw one of these bowls I have wanted one, but promised myself I would only get one when I visited Nepal. For those who aren’t sure what the heck I am talking about, here is some explanation courtesy of Wikipedia:
Singing bowls (also known as Tibetan Singing Bowls, rin gongs, Himalayan bowls or suzu gongs) are a type of bell, specifically classified as a standing bell. Rather than hanging inverted or attached to a handle, singing bowls sit with the bottom surface resting. The sides and rim of singing bowls vibrate to produce sound characterized by a fundamental frequency (first harmonic) and usually two audible harmonic overtones (second and third harmonic). According to singing bowl researcher Joseph Feinstein, singing bowls were traditionally used in Asia and the tradition of making sound with bronze bowls could go back 3,000 or more years to the Bronze Age.
I had searched for one in almost every shop I had visited in Kathmandu and Pokara and had found none that would sing for me. The guy at this shop had been very helpful the first time and gave me excellent information. As I walked in he recognized me and was very happy to take his time and help me find the perfect bowl. Many bowls seem more intricate and decorated, but are also made by machine. He recommended one of the hand made older ones and I finally found her, and she sang beautifully. She even had Om Mani Padme Hum, the Buddhist chant, in graved on it in Sanscript. I barely had to touch her side with the wooden stick to make her sing.
I was given the meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum and thought I would share it, exactly how it was written:
OM: I invoke the path and experience of universality so that…
MANI: the jeweline luminosity of my immortal mind,
PADME: be unjoled within the depths of the lotus centre of my awakeness consciousness….
HUM: and be wafted by the ecstasy of breaking through all bonds and horizons.
Got to love it when things are translated into English.
Kapan Gumba Monastery
After finding my singing bowl and walking around Boudha a few times we got back on the bike and headed into what could be called the “suburbs”. Beautiful big houses out this way. Buddha used to come camping out here when he was growing up, before the city spread this far. He wanted to take me to Kapan Gumba a Tibetan Monastery, apparently quite beautiful. Unfortunately it was closed for the month due to a workshop on Buddhism for foreigners. As we were walking to the gate I heard a South African accent. Turns out the woman was not only from SA but from Durban, my area. You never know who you are going to meet where. We felt the connection instantly and chatted for a while before the bells called her in to more class.
That afternoon, we went to four different cinemas in search of a movie Buddha wanted to watch, but they were either full or had already started. So in the end we just headed back to relax and to play with my singing bowl.