The Asura Caves are about a 20 minute walk from my home in Nepal at the monastery. They are located up a steep hill from the small town of Pharping. My friend Ed showed me the caves and explained there significance, an 8th century Indian Buddhist scholar,Padmasambhava, on his pilgrimage to Tibet attained enlightenment while he mediated in Asura Cave.
Outside the entrance to the cave is a handprint that seems to be melted into solid stone. Science can't explain in but stories do, it was said after years of meditation Padmasambhava came back to this reality tired and weak, when he trying to leave the cave he stumbled and reached
His hand touched the stone, melted it because of all the meditation energy his body has built up. I'm not sure if I believe it or not, but I can tell you that going to the cave, using my mall, and trying to meditate in the cave was truly a holy experience. The monks also tell me if someone passes away during mediation there body can stay warm for weeks before they can have a funeral.
At the cave I also was fortunate to have my mala blessed by a Buddhist guru. Malas are Buddhist prayer beads, that consist of a strand of 108 beads.
I have been told two meanings for the number of beads.
1. There are 108 beads instead of just a 100 because when you are saying your mantra you are likely to mess up, the extra beads ensure that you will get 100 passable mantras completed.
2. Each bead is a symbol of impurities and flaws that an individual must overcome. 108 beads is said to represent the following formula:
6 x 3 x 2 x3 = 108
6 senses of a human being: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, thought
3 times: past, present, future
2 conditions of heart, mind or intention: pure or impure
3 disturbing emotional states.