Shanit Stupa is perched on a hill and was built to promote 2500 years of Buddhism. At 4267 Feet above sea level my lungs were feeling it as my legs tried to carry my body up the steep 500 steps to the top. The view is superb and is most amazing in its ability to look rather small until you arrive at the top. I walked around a few times and spent some time in the meditation hall watching locals give thanks, prostrating and praying. Leaving I was greeted by a very sweet guy named Lobsang. Offering me a place to sit, some warm tea and home made savoury biscuits I tried to find out what he was doing here and if I could possibly find out more and Buddhism in general.
What is the Shanti Stupa?
The stupa is very important; it has the teachings and books here. The stupa is not empty it is full of knowledge.
What is this knowledge?
Its easy the knowledge of Buddha it is simple – To be Happy this is the essence.
What is your role here?
I am a caretaker I have been here for five years but I am been a monk since 9 years I am now 50 (pointing to a picture of a young Buddhist on the wall and laughing)
What are the benefits to humanity if they find solace in Buddha?
To be nice to improve but you must take refuge in the teachings of Buddha these are for everyone – This is True.
Can you become happy without this practice?
This is not a religion it’s a way of understanding our minds and our true state or essence. Happiness is to come out of the ignorance and into knowledge. Alleviating sickness and suffering is the key to Buddha’s teachings. I am not outside of this I too suffer also – its Life (Laughs). Attachment is everywhere here in Ladakh, the technology is bringing many unhappiness. The westerners are seen as being happy but westerners think Ladahkians are happy but humans everywhere are like this. If you don’t want suffering you must come out of ignorance this is the proof. The Buddha gave it one name – The 3 poisons. Anger, Ignorance and Attachment.
What is the practice to come out of this?
You must identify these 3 poisons and be aware of this in everyday life. No-one can give you peace just you, this suffering that is too educate yourself and know these in everyday life.
At this point he asks me how is the enemy coming? Anger ill will, this effect on the mind makes you reflect this in your life and starts to impair your judgement – This is True.
What is the 1st steps to helping us come out of this?
The 4 nobles truths.
This path leads to the end of all suffering, If we avoid harming all other living beings, if we sharpen and focus our mind, and if we gain wisdom; each of us can reach perfect happiness, the end of all misery – This is True
What is a good mantra for this? Can this assist this?
NO! The 1st step is compassion this is the mantra. Everything will start to come into a better state with this. Happiness will come, you will relax and sleep well and feel peace. Mantra can be used for Compassion but if you are not identifying the 3 poisons and try to move away from them Mantra will not work. A clear mind is the end result better thoughts, better way of life. You must have a clean mind to be able to understand knowledge properly at school this is the way.
So we must just be alike Buddha? Yes you are Buddha – This is True.
What else do we have to be aware of?
Jealousy will be something that will affect you also but this ties into non-attachment.
What about Meditation?
Find one that is good for you Vipassana is good but if you are not being a good person meditation is no good – This is True. It starts with your compassion and to live simply and content. Meditation calms the mind and this only helps so much.
At this point he revealed that he has a strong practice but was not educated properly and felt that I should find a scholar. As I sat there and drank the High noon tea he sounded more and more humble and simply wanted to exist outside of the realms of the lower forms of being. Being up there was a real blessing and to talk to someone who didn’t reveal things he didn’t know fully and have any Ego with regards to preaching etc was an amazing feeling.
As I started to see a storm build in the distance and started to leave Lobsang started revealing that people just keep looking and seeking and when they are in these amazing places they somewhat miss the point, as these temples exist in a place in all our hearts. Sadly he did relay his ideas on Tibet and destruction of many sacred texts and temples. Suffering is Suffering -This is True.
Lobsang said goodbye by asking me who I was and why do I identify with the body “People are nothing these bodies are just vessels we have no need to be religious we just need to be happy and compassionate. Buddhism is a practice to reveal the real you, this which that is within you but you don’t know – This is true.
Don’t look outside for happiness Buddha he is not in a church. If Buddha was a question mark the Answer is compassion. For you to be born is out of compassion, our mothers have to be compassionate to allow us to experience this life – We must try to share this. Buddha said we ‘must become alike mum’. Let go of this Ego you are not Daniel your nothing just feel this and be the best you can be.
Heading back down the steps towards Leh Town I felt emotions that brought up things I forgot about and knew I was on the right track. In the next few hours I tracked down a Tibetan Oracle and the rest is history.
If you come here say Hi. For me in my experience, I feel that Leh is really Leh in the winter as its just the locals. The tourists and merchants only come in tourist season (spring- summer) and Leh gets to breath and rest.
Please give these guys a thought if you’re considering visiting this amazing place. They are great at making your trip easy and memorable plus are great company.