Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Buddham saranam gacchami …

Just thought of sharing a small incident with all of you…
I recently went to Kushinagar to learn more about the life of Musahar community. Anyhow I am not going to bore you by sharing my learning here. As I told you earlier, this is just to share a small incident that happened during that visit.

In Kushinagar I happened to stay in a Government guest house opposite to which was (also ‘is’) a temple. Mahaparinirvana temple of Buddha (Kushinagar is the place where he died – just an info for those who forgot the history studied in school). Kushinagar attracts many Buddhist visitors from different parts of the world, Thai, Korea, Japan, Srilanka… and so on.

We also wanted to visit the temple and entered in an early morning (as we had to go to our field after that). There are still excavated remnants of the original temple which is of a different century (days/years back to initial centuries of AD). Let me not be a historian with my explanations.

I visited the main statue (a lying Buddha in his death bed – dying Buddha indeed) and came out to sit there on those few steps in front, not to be a Hindu to sit in the temple for few minutes after offerings, but to feel the presence of Buddha’s death (forgive the contradiction). The place where I sat happened to be the sidewall of the steps, which takes you (also everyone) to the main temple.

Two friends of mine, whom I accompanied, were sitting on the opposite sidewall. There was a Srilankan group coming out of the main temple after offering their prayers. All of them were just stepping down and a woman of that group just by crossing me stopped and asked me something. That must be in Sinhalese as I did not understand a single word out of it. I but thought that she asked me whether I belong to their group and thus gestured at her by shaking my head, ‘No’. She was not satisfied with my gesture, she just took out her wallet and by searching for some coins, she again asked me, “Are you looking for the shoes?”. This time the question was in English. I just looked around the place I was sitting. Hundreds of shoes, laid but with an order. I too was in my wrinkled khaki shirt (I never press my clothes). I got the point and answered her with a smile, “No”. She had a smile before saying a bye to me.

My friends then told me that I have found out a new livelihood for myself. I was happy through the whole day. When I shared this with my mother, she advised me to wear neat clothes and look more decent. I was with another opinion. I was happy because I am not representing the so called ‘decent’ world.

The woman was in her white dress, a clean message, Buddham saranam gacchami… but I don’t go to Buddha for emancipation as I never tie myself with anything.

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