My First Time in Nepal: Immersion into Buddhist Culture

By Franka Cordua-von Specht • 2 min read

Path of Liberation 1 Online (Streamed Live from Kathmandu)

“A big highlight was going around Nepal and seeing all these incredible places that were dedicated monasteries, temples, shrines, and caves, where our great meditation ancestors practiced.” — Christopher Baxter

Christopher Baxter was initially hesitant to travel to Kathmandu, Nepal, last September to study at Osel Ling monastery. At 75, with memories of a trip to India three decades earlier but no experience in Nepal, the unknowns of such a journey and the prospect of traveling alone were considerable.

“I wondered if I could handle it emotionally, mentally, logistically — on all those different levels,” said Christopher, a long-time student of Mingyur Rinpoche’s and founder of the Tergar St Augustine-Florida Practice Group.

Speaking from his home in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, he shared his initial apprehension and the profound impact of the journey. “One of the dangers of this stage of life is that comfort, security, convenience, and predictability start to become overwhelmingly important. And I didn’t want to be held captive by that.”

Deep down, he had an inner knowing that things would fall into place once he committed to venturing to Nepal, and they did seamlessly. In fact, once the trip was in motion and he boarded the plane, all anxiety dropped away.

His wish to go to Nepal came from a longing to immerse himself in the country where the Buddha was born and where the culture of Buddhism is so deeply rooted. “I wanted to experience Rinpoche in the monastery with the monks around him. I wanted to get the whole flavor,” Christopher recalled.

The final motivator was impermanence. “If I don’t do it now, I’m never going to do it! So let’s go over there!”

The travel reparations were made easier by consulting with friends who had been to Nepal and breaking the planning down into manageable steps. He packed carefully and included items like Vitamin C, hydration powders, immune boosters like oregano oil, and plenty of masks.

His time in Nepal proved very enriching. “A big highlight was going around Nepal and seeing all these incredible places that were dedicated monasteries, temples, shrines, and caves, where our great meditation ancestors practiced,” he said. “The three jewels — the Buddha, dharma, and sangha — were just everywhere.”

Living amongst the monastic community and studying in an immersive environment alongside thirty others at the Tergar Institute was a blessing.

Did the trip impart a lasting change now that he has returned to his home in North Carolina? “What occurred for me was a nonverbal shift in how I relate to the world around me and how I relate to this path,” Christopher shared. To elaborate on this last point, he gave an example of a visit to the Grand Canyon forty years ago.

“To this day, the experience of standing in front of the Grand Canyon, I can still touch into something there that changed me forever,” he said. “Nepal was like that. A lot of it was a change at a body level, a sense of more openness, more connectedness.”

About the Author

Franka Cordua von-Specht is a communications advisor with Tergar International.

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