I’ll be brief because my internet connection in Bodhgaya is tenuous. I’ll play catchup once I get home in a little over a week.
One photograph cannot begin to do this subject justice but it will have to do. Bodhgaya as the most important of the Buddhist pilgrimage sites is a riot of color and sound and devotion. It has been on my bucket list for a long time and today I explored most of the temples and spent time at the Mahabodhi Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The only thing that was surprising to me was the mixture of the old and new: monks talking on cell phones (mobiles they are called here), monks walking around making movies with their iPads, and the fact that I was the only westerner to be seen for the most part.
As such I was a curiosity but that wasn’t a bad thing. Curious also equals friendly and I talked to so many about “America” and what it really is like.
I have learned over these past months that all isn’t really that different below the surface. Beneath it all we are all trying to be good and kind people; we care for our families; we try to earn our daily bread in whatever way we can. The superficial stuff will surprise the traveler at first and if you are here but a short time those things will stay in the front of your experience. After a time though comes acceptance and understanding and we can appreciate each other more deeply. Criticism falls away and the good memories remain.
Lesson learned today: if you feed a sacred cow (really, there are such creatures) it will follow you around and become your best bovine friend. “Tung, matkaro” – “please leave me alone.”
Safe travels everyone,