Namo Buddha

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Namo Buddha or Takmo Lüjin (Wyl. stag mo lus sbyin) is one of the three main stupas of the Kathmandu valley. 30 km north east of the Kathmandu valley, it stands on top of the Gandha Malla hill, a stupa built on the bones and hair of Mahasattva. According to the Jataka and several sutras, Mahasattva was one of Buddha Shakyamuni's former rebirths. He was the youngest of the three sons of king Maharatha. One day as they were walking through the forest, they saw a tigress with the five cubs she had given birth to. She was so hungry she could hardly move. The three princes went away, but Mahasattva decided to go back and started to cut his flesh to give it to the tigress to eat. When his brothers went to look for him they found only his bones and hair. The stupa was built on top of these remains.

Walking up the hill from the stupa we reach a place were the scene of the Buddha giving his body to the tigress is engraved in stone. According to the oral tradition, this is the actual place where the Buddha gave his body. Further up there is also a small stupa which is said to mark the den of the tigress. There, pilgrims lie down on the ground as if giving their bodies, and hair and pieces of cloth are hung to the branches of the tree for protection.

The Tibetan name derives from the origin of the site (stag mo means tigress, lus body, and sbyin to give). Local people call it Namo Buddha (Lit. Homage to the Buddha). Because the region was infested with tigers the local people wouldn't call it by its actual name, which contains the word “tiger”, and so, as a way to protect themselves, they got into the habit of calling it “Namo Buddha.”