I visited Nepal in April 2013, staying for a little over a month. I also missed the marathon bombing that occurred that month. I was drinking masala chai in the sun in Pokhara when I heard the news. Voicing my concern, I got perplexed daggers. The people I had been traveling with were from Iran, Venezuela, Tibet. Tibet! I didn’t bring it up again. I made sure that my friends running the race and my family were ok and dropped the subject. I was in Asia traveling with people from very ravaged worlds compared to mine. I was in Nepal and was practicing being present. It was a bittersweet trip. I made the 24 hour flight with a bad back and was across the world but I had an overwhelming sense of sadness and this ‘I may not have a chance to travel this far away again’ feeling.
I missed all of the media coverage on Boston. When the case came up again in the news this month, my boyfriend of one year got frustrated with me because I didn’t know any of the details of that day. “I was in Nepal, on the other side of the world, I missed all of this,” I declared every time, “How do you not know any of this?!”, came up. Honestly, I’m thankful I missed it, even though being a Boston native I did feel very far away and homesick at the time.
Here we are two years later, on the anniversary of the bombings, the trial and sentencing of the bad guy is also this month, and I’m feeling nostalgic of Nepal, it brings me to a happy place – to escape. The news barely permeates. I’m thinking about the dusty air, the hot pink and golden landscape. The smoky smell of trash and incense burning. And then suddenly, Nepal suffers the biggest earthquake in history. News is coming in slowly and delayed. Ancient temples are ruined. I think about the crowded streets and how I once bumped heads with a baby in a mother’s arms while she manueavered through the tight lines of people hurriedly. The news is now on the riots in Baltimore. The death toll in Nepal climbing past 5,000 people. Peace. Peace. Peace.
I feel indebted to Nepal. Nepal provided a safe-haven-buddhist-bubble for me during a chaotic time in Boston. And not just for me, but for the countless world travelers that have gone to Nepal seeking peace. I hope that we all will give back to the country in it’s biggest time of need. The natural disaster that has wreaked havoc and deplorable conditions on Nepal makes all of the other worldly evils that much more evil. There are those just trying to survive. Shanti. Shanti. Shanti.
Below is the Medicine Buddha Chant that I was first introduced to in Nepal. May our eyes be transfixed on peace like those of the Buddha Eyes; the national symbol of Nepal.
Medicine Buddha Mantra:
Om Namo Bhagavate Bhaishaja Guru
Vaiduria Prabha Rajaya Tathagataya
Arahate’ Samyaksham Buddhaya
Om Bekajye Bekajye Maha Bekajye
Bekajye Radzaya Samudgate’ Shave