First time in INDIA | From thought to real
Bodh Gaya, Feel the faith under the Bodhi tree
In India, I saw believers in all races of Buddhism gathered together at the Mahabodhi Temple, where the Buddha enlightened. Both the Tibetan Buddhist monks and ordinary people, that worship in the Buddha, stay, pray, and meditate here. Everyone is really indeed and calm. I love to see the eyes of faith that people who come here have. I saw belief in it. It was so intense that I got goosebumps. If you would like to visit this place, please come with the intention of it with your real faith. Remember that you are coming in the place where the world’s great apostle enlighten and seen the truth on this earth by himself.
9 hours on the train
We spent 9 hours on the First Class rail train, which had bunk beds and blankets that are bristlier than elephant skin. Weirdly, we fell asleep like dying under that elephant blanket without any imagination of train station fright or the subject itself. We woke up again at 7 o’clock. Most of the Indian people are already woke up. I looked down and saw an Indian aunty on the bed below, woke up before me. She is sitting by the window and looks like she is thinking about something. Her eyes look out to the vast outer land. The sun shined through the red curtain onto her, and the light flashed with the shadow of trees outside. That scene took my eyes for a while before taking eyes off to a wider area outside.
It’s the point that I felt like I’m being just a small human, bringing myself traveling in the big world, in the new big realm among the cultures and people that are unfamiliar with.
I looked out, there was only a barren land without any buildings. Some areas have farms or a little house located there. This relieved me, my swells inside. I like this feeling.
I felt like there is a lot of things that I have never seen, never felt and never experienced. So much of it.
I had relieved, no worry about anything. Stop thinking about troubling issues, the job, and the uneasy things.
They are all just like small dust when I took myself out there. And realize “So far, how have I took that little thing so serious?”
This feeling, we called it. “The feelings of those who depart,”
I think it is not just a feeling. In fact, it has something to do with spirituality. It’s like getting closer to nature. I thought the things that our humankind created is the greatest thing. Those inventions were the things that we always been caught up with. When we came out and experience nature, which is the original birth of life. Those inventions are just a small fraction of the power of mother nature.
Almost got to Bodh Gaya. I washed my face with wet tissues and prepared bottled water. Actually, I wanted to use the restroom. But after seeing it. Okay, let’s skip to the restroom at Thai Temple instead.
On the train, we talked to the Indians again. We gave him a Japanese snack. He split it into pieces and gave it to his whole family. Then they gave us a big pack of chocolate as a return.
Actually, Indian people are kind and lovely. We slept first class train, so maybe we met people that are calmer. (But the local train are funnier) We were getting close to Bodh Gaya. The outside view became more attractive after seeing the arid areas for a while.
We reached Bodh Gaya at 9 o’clock in the morning.
We got out of the train, and suddenly, the unknown smell infused throughout the station. I looked around and found the origin of the smell. Apparently, “a man was peeing.” What I just said is not just one man, but they were standing in a row near the station wall. I grabbed my camera out and tried to took it. Previously, I got a pooping kid. I missed it a lot of time we saw people peeing in public. Now, I got one! Mission completed! Give me a hand!
At the station with Indian people
I’m getting used to their habit a little bit. In the image that everyone looks like the cheater, I feel that they had a playful mood in it as well. In this picture, I would like to take a photo with a bogie. But a guy inside the train pushed his tongue out and play with his eyes. So I changed my mind to take pictures with him instead. Then, two more Indian came to take a photo with me. If we stay longer, I would have to take the photo with the whole bogie.
We headed to the Auto car to get to Thai Temple. Indian people kept pressing the horn and driving dangerously. To tell you the truth, the drivers here must be very skillful. It’s like they almost hit a cow for several times but not. They just drive very near an inch. Kolkata, which is known as a hard city to drive in. Here is far more challenging. The dust was all around, and the road has holes that could give you neck pain. You might feel like your intestine is almost gathered together on the toes. Is there any difficulty more than this?! Bring it on!
On the way to town & Cow poop
The cow is holy God according to their belief. So how can cow poop not be sacred? Valid logic, right? I will not argue that. By the way, Indian people take the cow poop and get a handful of it then roll it into a flat bundle, Finally, plug it into the wall. It will be like Chinese Chive Dumplings on the wall but let’s make a guess “What is the Cow’s poop art for?”. I searched for it. The results said cow poop here could protect you from evil things and prevent those things to get into your house also attract to your family too. But actually, it is fuel. I saw that when he form it up, they put a little hay in it. And put it on the wall. When the scraps of hay went down because of the dryness, they took it and used it as fuel in their household. This thing could be kept for a long time. And you know what? It’s unlimited, and it coulee be sold in the market for the money. This is brilliant!
I did not take a picture of cow poop wall hence the car was shaking at that time. During our way to the city, this is the best picture.
Thai Buddhist temple & First Thai food
Here we go, Thai Temple.
Seeing Thai characters gave me a warm heart feeling. It’s like coming back home, seeing friends. We booked it earlier via Facebook of the temple, They said there was enough room for 3 people like us. Then talk to the monsignor and gave them the papers before going to our room.
WAT THAI BUDDHAGAYA
This Thai Buddhist temple is considered to be the first Thai temple in India. It was created by the Indian government, celebrating the Buddhist century or the Buddhist day (Visakha Puja day) in 1957. Therefore, the Indian government invited Buddhists all over the world to create their own temples in Bodh Gaya, the origin of Buddhist land and Buddhism. By the way, Thailand has responded and built the first temple of the event that is this temple. Then there is the temple of Japan, another Tibetan monastery. I’ll bring you there.
While we were waiting, an elephant mahout was riding in the elephant passing by. Monsignor gave him some water. The elephant drank some water and played with it.
This restaurant located in front of the temple with its name ‘TakBatr,’ which means ‘offering food to monks.’ We sat down and had a talk with the restaurant staff for a while. I miss Thai people. Coming here at Thai restaurant and eat Thai food for the first time since I had been in India. Do you know that feeling? Previously, I ate roti, curry, flour, and cheese. I miss our jasmine rice. I want to eat some rice. A soft one with fried eggs in a Thai style, which is like it’s overcooked, but not. The egg came with a yolk jam inside. I tasted it, and it’s like I’m home.
The best toilet, I almost tear
This place has the best restroom since I came here. It has “toilet spray”!! I love it!! Those foreigners might not understand the way Thai people use “toilet spray.”
Just think about it, if you accidentally step on dog poop with your bare foot, will you use tissue paper or wash it out with water? Wash it out, right? Yes, exactly! Same as Thai people, if you get dirty, you have to wash it out with water. Otherwise, you will feel like there something there all day long.
From my experience, the room here is charming and neat. There were 5 beds. You can take the full rest. Also, the restroom was immaculate. (I am so sorry that my photo shooting has gone that moment. I was so tired, and I forgot to snap our room).
Okay, I’m over with the room and the sprays in the bathroom. I put my stuff down and even though the bed told me to lay down and get some sleep. I have to ignore it and go to the great pagoda.
Bodh Gaya people
On the way to the great pagoda, I saw the local way of life here. The main road is a dusty old road and full of traders along the way. If you want to buy something, just dust it off a little bit. Then it’s good enough.
Let’s start with a ‘barber,’ the arrange a pop-up shop outdoor, you can see them chilling by the street. The packaging they used is reuse according to the 3R principle. (reduce, reuse, recycle. they use all the 3R together) Every bottle container could be reused. Even a toilet washer liquid container could be used to contain hair spray.
Everyone here has their skill in putting the stuff on their head. Especially, those girls. Do not underestimate them. They got their way to do it. They said it’s better than carrying.
Pani Puri is an Indian food.
It is a hollow crust of crushed flour. When you eat it, you have to put your thumb in to make a hole. Then put the sauce in the hole before eating. (The sauce consists of potatoes, beans, chickpeas, onions, tamarind juice and so on, depending on the recipe). I did not try it because I saw him put his thumb in and I did not brave enough to eat. Ps. Looks like I was caught taking photos.
There were souvenirs along the walking way such as bracelets and rings. I bought the hairpin. Ps. The ring below was purchased from Kolkata. I like it. It’s cute. When I went to Leh Ladakh, it was twice as expensive. We could also make a bargain here!
is a gift with its funny history. I bought it, and it’s quite useless for me. Haha, not recommended to buy as a souvenir but you could buy it for yourself. I saw it while Tibetan people praying, then they rotate it, but with the big one. I came out and found a tiny little one, and then I bought it. We spin it in the coffee shop (for surfing the internet with their free wifi), and a Tibetan monk saw it. He told us it is called ‘Mani Colo.’
It is Prayer wheels or Tibetan prayer tools. It’s for making a spin during your prey. Inside, there is a sign or chant that reads ‘Oṃ maṇi Padme hūṃ’ written on a long sheet of curled paper, wrapped up together. In conclusion, “It is buoyancy in prayer itself.” See? This is so cool! We just pray and spin Mani Colo, which has 3,000 chapters. You roll in the first round, that is, we prayed to 3001 and then turn four rounds, we pray to 12,001 chapters! This invention was created before Steve Jobs invented the computer. What a smart!
The Goat as a Pet
I walked down the street and saw a lot of people walking their goat as a pet. They don’t pet a dog here because it could not be eaten. Hahaha.
Indian girls love to put on colorful saris, especially children. They are allowed to wear two pieces. So, their mom enjoys putting the clothes on their kids with a contrasting color. If you turn around unprepared, you may be blind, yellow – pink, blue – orange. Trend Color-block might have the inspiration from Indian. The dressing skill of people here is excellent. Not just women. I can see from far away here. Their favorite and most often seen are red and pink. Someone who wears another color would wear a little red and pink items too.
Next, the content will be about the history of Buddhism as the main content.
Bodh Gaya (Mahabodhi Temple)
Place of Buddhas Enlightenment
Bodh Gaya or Buddhist temples, or the Mahabodhi temple has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located in Gaya, Bihar, India. Far out to the west of the Neranchara River 350 meters *(still remember? Neranchara river is where the Buddha brought the tray of holy rice from Suchada and floated it for a gulp that if he achieves attainment of the mantra, the tray will float upstream and the trays have flowed upstream follows his prey.)
**4 steps of Bodh Gaya’s history **
~ In the 3rd year Buddhism, Bodh Gaya was built and maintained. (In Ashoka King age)
~ The 17th century(CE Year or 12th BE Year), it was destroyed by the invading Muslim army and abandoned since that time. (Damaged by Muslim Army)
~ 1590, it was conquered by Hindu and tried to change to a Hindu temple. (Dominated by Hindu priests)
~ In 1874, the Burmese king came to restore some parts (Restored by King Mindon Min)
4 important things in Bodh Gaya
There are four main points to remember as, Maha Pho Pagoda, Buddhist mercy inside the pagoda, the observatory and the Sri Mahabodhi tree.
Before getting in, you have to leave your camera outside. But if you would like to take it in, you have to pay the fee for 100 Rupees. The mobile phone is strictly prohibited. You have to keep it only outside the temple. It’s a security policy here to prevent interruptions in this holy place. The shoes are recommended to put in a plastic bag and put the bag in your backpack otherwise it could be lost especially Nike and Adidas.
is a rectangular pagoda about 51 meters high, with two layers The lower layer is where The Mercy Buddha is located and it is the place to make worship. The second floor is a room to prayers.
Buddha Metta (The Mercy Buddha)
is a statue as the representative of the Buddha at the time he beat the demons and achieve the Dharma.
As they said
The Mercy Buddha is a Buddha who survived the destruction of the King Sasangka (the Hindu king), about 1,400 years old. Lord Sasangka did not want to be under the rule of Bihar. So he put the war in Bodh Gaya, which is the heart of Buddhist at that time and ordered to burn down both the Bodhi tree and the Buddha. This destruction was ordered to cut off the tree branches, all roots, no matter where they go and burn down them all. But the steward ordered to destroy the mercy Buddha had his faith in the Buddha. Therefore, he ordered his workman to build the wall to cover the Buddha and build an altar at that position instead. When the steward hid it. He told his king that he has already destroyed the Buddha. King Sasangka listened instead of glad, he regretted so much that the blood flowing out his nose and mouth and then he died at that place on the 7th day since he ordered to burn it.
In this place, people often visit and pray or meditate but less than the outside because of the small and narrow room. When the group of tourists takes a visit, the room will be very crowded. So Monsignor or the staff will not allow them to sit for a long time. Most people will bring robes as an offering to the Buddha. Monsignor will take it and change it for the Buddha.(See Figure 2, you can see them changing the robe for the Buddha.) The fabric used must be 3 pieces of the robe, and the robe is usually clear fabric pattern. The beauty of robe will emphasize on the left shoulder robe. Some of them are thin gold lace embroidered with sparkly jewelry along with the background behind. This is gorgeous and charming.
The Bodhi tree
Phra Sri Mahabodhi and the Observatory
This is not the original tree from the origin of the Buddha on that day. This is the fourth tree represent the original tree from the buds of the original tree.
The first tree is call Nation tree, which is created on the same day that the Buddha was born at 352 years ago, was destroyed by the King Ashoka’s wife because of the jealousy that King Ashoka take care of this tree more than her.
The second tree powered by Ashoka from the bud of the original tree, which is almost 900 years old, destroyed by the god Sasangka, as described above.
The third one powered by King Puronworama. He came to India and declared war with King Sasangka. Then he planted the tree bud, which is 1,278 years old.
It is said to have fallen by its lifespan when India was the British colony.
The fourth one is The current tree, powered by General Sir Alexander Cunningham. He brought three buds and planted them behind the pagoda.
When I went there, the sun is not that hot, and the wind blows through the tree and pagoda. Strangely that I stood under the tree, I felt so calm and peaceful. The Bodhi tree branches shade the shadow for people praying to worship the Buddha. It is recommended to prepare the psalms to yourself. In case you don’t want to make a prey, you could walk around in a calm.
The observatory will be under the Bodhi tree, surrounded by a wall. Most people will get their foreheads and lean it against the wall and close their eyes. Then intentionally pray with a calm mind. This place is full of power, faith, belief, calmness and coolness of the wind. The marble floors and shadow from Bodhi trees allow us to sit here for days.
There was no division or races here. Everyone comes here with the same faith. Some people make prey, some make a meditation. Some people walk. Some people read the principles. Some people sit still under the branches of the Bodhi tree like the are thinking about something in their peaceful mind.
The Tibetan Zone
Back to the Tibetan monks zone. When they make a prey, they would have a musical instrument such as a tool that gives its sound like a flute and a batter like a drum machine. Listening to the prey and the harmony of the instrument could make you a calm mind as well. The picture below is a shot that we love so much. A little boy, Lama, turn to see us take a snapshot and smile. I do want to tell a story about Lama for a little more, but we will keep up at last.
The Thai monk zone
Thai monk will be in another zone, which is divided into the area because of the difference between ritual and psalms. Tibetan priests will arrange their ceremony during the day and Thais will do it in the night time instead. At that night, we went there for a peaceful walk. We heard Thai monks pray together in unison. The hymn is very harmony. We knew some of the Psalms translation. It is not that difficult to understand. I think that even you don’t know what they say, but you will definitely feel something for sure. Now, its end of euphoria part. Next part, we will take about the view and other things.
Local Market – there were fried Pastries of India, fried chicken, which is just put close to your mouth, you could feel the spice in it.
And the taste is what I expected. It’s full of spices, a lot of spices. If you stay in India for a month, and you don’t have spice smell from your body. That could not be true.
Until the end
In India, people here will use their shoes until their lifetime. If your shoes are broken then repair it again and again until it can not be repaired. (Do not choose to steal the shoes from the temple Mahapho, as our brother got stolen from.) There is a local shoe repair shop that when we turn the camera to them, the hold two fingers up and smile as general Indian people. Oh, I love it! The country that people not afraid of the camera or make an angry face when we take photos. Sometimes, they call us to take their pictures!
/ Thai Temple is about 500 meters away from the Mahabodhi Temple, so we traveled by Rickshaw for about 5 or 10 baht only. Love it ~
Japan is another country that has come here to build a monastery since the Indian government invites them. They created a large Japanese Buddhist style, facing to the east. In the temple, there are many religious figures of religious persons such as Arnon and Asachi monk. When we arrived there, it was almost sunset time. Looking from the front of the temple gave us a beautiful scene to remember.
After we finished praying at the temple, it was about to close.
We heard something, and we look around to find the origin of the voice. We saw a group of Indian children gathered together and sit down at the temple exit. You might hear that if you give one of them some money, you must give the money to the rest too. Actually, that’s not that scary. They will call you “Maharajah, Maharaja.” I have never felt this great before. My friends took the candy that was prepared and give it to them. They smiled at us as a return. We played together for a while time, and we felt they were cute and happy. But, you know, getting them off is not that easy. No matter where you go, they will follow you. It’s like a hen with her little chickens. We got to the Rick Shaw, they still followed us. Well, it took a while to get them off. By the way, thank you for your smile.
Let’s go back, we’ll miss the train!
This is a restaurant in front of the Thai Buddhist temple and the seniors who came here to help us and take care of us on a late-night tour and tell us the history. Before leaving, we offered some money to the temple as the capital factor because this place is free to sleep and eat. If you would like to visit here, please kindly leave some money for the electric or piped water fee. That would be great.
We took too long to get out of the place we stayed. It’s quite late for the train. We caught the Autobus to the train station and told the driver to hurry up. I have to say thank you to Pop that he could communicate with the driver.
“Baiya Jaro Jaro!!”
Which means “Bro!! Hurry up!!!”. I heard this from Pop until I remembered it. I have to practice my accent more to express my feeling. Pop told me that if we could not suppress them, they would suppress us instead. If Pop wouldn’t be on this trip, we might get cheated so many times. I understand that my skill is not enough for it. Fortunately, we got Pop to help us. I couldn’t imagine the situation without him.
Thank you for your smile.
If you want someone to smile at you, you just turn your camera to them. They will become a model for you instantly. Thanks to many people who made us smile and bring good memory to us. Bye Bye, Bodh Gaya.
Let’s finish this article with a little entertainment. (If there any inappropriate language, which bad words, please forgive us. This is actually a scanned version out of the notebooks.)
According to Wikipedia, they are a spiritual teacher. Their inside outfit is like a sleeveless shirt showing the arm muscles. Their robe is in brick red color and the outer fabric is yellow, orange or red as well. At the period of the ritual, a little boy, Lama, wore the red brick cloth. The Lama whose are a little older wore orange-yellow and have a good body shape. Even they get old age, they still got a good shape. No one is fat or overweight. When we got close to where they stay, we knew why they are so strong, We saw them bow their head so many times, like the get all parts of their body down on the floor while they worship. Standing upright, kneeling and down to the front and come up to kneel and then stand up and repeat all again and again. Their muscle must be so strong. One more thing, Lama could enjoy sports such as Football (Soccer), which they really enjoy it.
Lamas are very playful. When we turned the camera to them, they did their act all the time. As shown below, this is taken at the front entrance. There is a bus of Tibetan monk driving in. We were taking a photo of the Lama sitting on the roof of the car. Then he saw our camera, he suddenly waved his hands to us. Then they all laugh happily. It was a good moment for us.
Before we got out, we saw this Lama closing his eyes and praying along the side of the pathway to the outside.
I took the camera out and snap a shot. He opened his eyes. His face looks scary to me. I apologized him and rushed out but he called me, and I walked in with a little surprise. He took something out of the book, which is opened in front of him. It is the leaves of the Bodhi Tree. Then he handed it out with a smiley face. We said thank you and walk out surprisingly and a big smile. I keep that leaf and put it in the notebook. Until now, it’s still there. Thank you very much:)
Well, that’s our journey to Bodh Gaya. I am very happy to be here. It’s like I get my life a bit slow down. I would love to meditate a little bit more, but I have to leave. The next city that I will experience is a completely different from this city. Everything is fast and very chaotic. There, time would be faster. Varanasi, the city of gorgeous river 🙂
Continue reading part3 @http://mithuna27.com/th/fall-for-ganga-river-varanasi/