On my tour, we went to a place called Sarnath. As usual, I had no idea what to expect.
We went into museum and Rashid,our guide, explained that statues of Buddha all had three interesting features. The Buddha’s long ears signified the importance of being a good listener and his ever present smile represented joyful peace. What I didn’t know was that his seemly minimalist hairstyle set an example for the unimportance of outward appearances.
We passed through doors into a beautiful place of greens, sandstone and sunshine.
After Buddha meditated for forty-nine days under a Bodhi tree, he came to Sarnath to preach for the first time, speaking about the doctrine of suffering and the eightfold Middle Path to enlightenment.
- Right understanding
- Right thought
- Right speech
- Right action
- Right livelihood
- Right effort
- Right mindfulness
- Right concentration
Buddha had actually lived in this place and I was in awe. The sandstone was the remains of the Buddhist monasteries that once existed here. And the large domed building was a stupa, an ancient shrine used for meditation.
Rashid pointed out a Bodhi seedling growing out of a crevice in a tree.
I chose to immerse myself in the experience and I wander through the site alone.
I came upon a group of Buddhists who had come there as part of a pilgrimage.
I noticed the bits of gold leaf that worshipers had left on the stone to pay homage.
Later, Rashid took us a short distance away to the tallest statue of Buddha in world.
I am so glad to have had this experience concerning Buddhism. There is so much to learn about all the different ways of the world. I not only want to know them but also understand them. As Buddha said, I guess I am looking for a “right understanding”.
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