Myths and legends

Myths and legends >> Mani Walls in Nepal

On any mountain route in Nepal, you can find the so-called "mani walls". These are small (or large) free-standing walls made of stones, on which numerous mantras, prayers and symbols are carved. The most common mantra on the mani wall is "Om mani padme hum." Perhaps because of this, such walls are called "mani". Prayer drums can also be built into the walls of the mani, which are rotated by travelers passing by.

At first glance, it might seem that the walls of the mani are part of the "ecosystem" of Tibetan Buddhism. However, the tradition of setting stones with various symbols and making walls of these stones is rooted in the ancient Tibetan Bon-po religion.

Followers of Bon-po believe that the world is inhabited by a huge number of deities and demons that can both help and harm people. Deities and demons control natural phenomena, they are the "soul" of everything in the world: the sun, mountains, lakes, rivers, animals. The Tibetans carved various symbols on the stones and folded them in tribute to local deities, hoping for their protection. So, in the most important places for Tibetans (in villages, on passes, near various shrines), whole heaps of such stones gradually appeared, from which walls were sometimes built. Passing by such a pile of stones, a Tibetan will definitely put another stone into it for good luck.

When the ideas of Buddhism penetrated the territory of Tibet, they bizarrely mixed with Bon-po. Many ancient traditions have survived, but received a new, Buddhist meaning. So it happened with the mani walls. Since ancient times, the stones have depicted the sun, moon, dragons, animals, fish and, of course, the swastika. These symbols were replaced by mantras, prayers and symbols of Buddhism. A new one was added to the traditional meaning of the walls. Many Buddhists regard the mani walls as symbols of the Buddha's speech.

In addition to their "main" function, stones and walls play the role of landmarks visible from afar, and also mark the boundaries of areas.

You need to walk past the mani wall so that the wall remains to the right hand. It is believed that walking past the mani wall is equal to reading the prayers written on it. And a pebble added to the wall further reinforces the result.

Since the highlands of Nepal are inhabited mainly by peoples who came from Tibet, mani walls are found everywhere here. These are small “fences” made of flat stones, and grandiose buildings, which can be over a hundred meters long.

It is believed that the largest mani wall in Nepal is located in the Mustang Valley in the place where, according to legend, the intestines of the demon defeated by Padmasambhava fell to the ground. The length of this wall is about 240 meters.





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