Monday, February 05, 2007

Stalking the Wild Lama

Week In Review
Bodh Gaya, Bihar

This week, your intrepid reporter witnessed relics of the Buddha and his two primary disciples, Sariputra and Mogallana, displayed in diamond-encrusted cases, all the way from Sri Lanka. The relics arrived on a grand antique wagon drawn by four Belgian draft horses. The relics themselves, seen in closeup, looked like tiny chips of bone or tooth cushioned on cotton balls, inside the gleaming cases, which were inside a glass display box, which were inside the Mahabodhi Society Mahavihara.

The next day we saw HH the Dalai Lama enshrine those relics in the Mahabodhi Society Vihara in a solemn ceremony, made raucous with rude Indian male photographers . I thought they were going to knock over the jeweled boxes and send the relics flying into the crowd of monks. It does take a true Bodhisattva to live one's life in the near-constant presence of those snap-happy, pushing, shoving jerks without losing patience. The DL seemed quite amused at all the fuss, sometimes looking like he was suppressing laughter.

The following day the Dalai Lama opened a three-day conference, Buddhism in the 21st Century. After hearing the Bihar governor talk in Hindi for 15 minutes and end by shouting "Buddham Saranam Gacchami! Dharmam saranam Gacchami! Sangam saranam Gacchami!!"-- the DL told us, in perfect English that he insists on describing as "my broken English," that to be good Buddhists we can't "just shout mantras." We must be good people, be nice to one another and refrain from "cheating, stealing and lying."

He he he - I thought that was especially aimed at the Bihar government members who shared the platform. Then he blew everyone's mind by signing a few autographs (!) and shaking hands before being herded out the door under his usual yellow umbrella.

My right hand is still totally sore and goes numb a lot, from mouse injury...sorry I can't upload more. I did video some of the DL's speeches but just holding down the shutter-button made my hand go numb.

Faraway places

Iceland, Oman and Malta are three of the more exotic newcomers on the Sitemeter Viewers list this week.

Someone from Iceland actually read for half an hour. I would love to hear the impressions of a Scandinavian on their first trip to India!


Viewer said...

I donno much about Buddhisim but alter DL's quote a little and I do agree that the best way to live Life " That to lead a good Life we can't just shout mantras. We must be good people, be nice to one another and refrain from cheating, stealing and lying."

Upasana said...

Thanks Viewer. Yep, that's about the size of it. Pretty much all you need to know about Buddhism.

chandan said...

Have been through ur first two submissions and my heart is already fluttering..will it continue in the third too..I mean this saga about Bihar. This surely has to be a bad bad place, wid all young lads molesting the tourists, & english knowing police men pretending to prefer sign language..and of course, the Governor not knowing what he is babbling in his native language..and all that. It really must be hell! Why on earth did Lord Buddha choose this place ? beats me. Maybe HH DL knows..or maybe u no ?