Page:Picturesque Nepal.djvu/229

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141
THE SHRINE OF THE SELF-EXISTENT

spot. Its special virtue is reputed to be its power of granting all prayers for worldly wealth, children, and everything else asked for. A copy of a printed booklet sold at this shrine to the pilgrims indicates the manner in which the building is brought into intimate relation with the chief legendary and historic persons of early Lamaism. It also states that Bodhnāth "enshrines the spirit of the Buddhas of the ten directions, and of the Buddhas of the three times (i.e. the present, past, and future), and of all the Bodhisats, and it holds the Dharma-kāyā."

But to properly understand the Chaitya style of Nepalese architecture, the student must toil up the steep flight of over five hundred steps leading to the gorgeous temple of Shambu-Nāth, and there examine the sacred shrine dedicated to Swayambhu Buddha—the Self-Existent. This edifice stands about a mile to the west of Katmandu, on a richly wooded detached hill, and consists of a masonry hemisphere surmounted by toran and umbrella of burnished gold. The majestic size, and severe simplicity of outline of this temple, with