Perhaps the urban residents of Kathmandu, in their cosmopolitan and west ward-looking straitjacket, would be more willing to preserve some of what they still have if they stopped and considered the sanctity that permeates their Valley´s past and present, its soil, rocks and rivers. While most educated Nepalis are conversant with Kalhmandu Valley´s artistic heritage, the legacy of the Lichhavi and Malla periods, they have yet to fully comprehend that the Valley is valued as a spiritual centre by believers across the Himalayan region.
There is ample scriptural reference to show that the Valley occupies an all-important place in the traditions and myths of Mahayana Buddhist culture, which encompasses Tibet and the high Bhotia valleys from Ladakh eastwards through Nepal, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. Lumbini was where the Sakyamuni Buddha was born, and the sites associated with his life are scattered around Bihar. But numerous “intermediary Buddhas” have links to the Valley, including the most-revered Padma Sambhava.
Known to the faithful as Guru Rimpoche, Padma Sambhava was responsible for establishing the dharma in Tibet during the 7th century A.D. When the sage first journeyed to Tibet, he is said to have passed through Kathmandu. On subsequent visits, we are told, he meditated in many caves in and around the Valley. A cave at Pharping in the Valley´s south is considered especially important a temple was recently constructed at this site by Jagdrol Rim-poche.
The Baudha stupa, once far removed from the Valley towns, but now swallowed by the city´s expansion, is among the holiest shrines of Tibetan Buddhists. Most of the important lineage holders of the Buddhist faith have either a monument or a monastery built within the spiritual sphere of the stupa. Dubjob Rimpoche, the principle lineage holder of the Nyingma-pa tradition lies in state in his monastery near the stupa.
Most residents of Kathmandu would not know it, but every year thousands of pilgrims from Sikkim, Bhutan and Ladakh visit the Valley every year to pray at Baudha and other revered holy sites both large and small.
Whether the Kathmandu residents recognise it or not, therefore, the wide expanse of then-Valley plays an important part in die spiritual cosmos of the Tibetan Buddhists of the entire Himalayan region. That is one more reason not to let the Valley die.