My stay at the Linh Son Buddhist Temple presented me with an opportunity to pick my host and new friend’s mind. Giovani, was born in Vietnam but moved to San Jose when he was a kid. He took robes about 4-years ago and has traveled to various parts of the world to work and assist in teaching little kids.
The 8 young monks-in-training stared at us on the opposite end of the long table, occasionally looking down at their dinner plates to eat; Giovani had invited me to dine with them for dinner.
Hearing him say that he was planning to disrobe in a few weeks, made me curious; his feeling was that just because he looks like and has the appearance of a monk, doesn’t make him a monk. As ironic as it is, image does have a large presence in Buddhism… He saw that through his experience of living the monastic life.
He felt he no more of a Buddhist than I, and him wearing robes didn’t mean he was any different… as I slurped on my pho noodles, noticing that he was eating a rice dish… not abiding to the 8th precept, refrain from eating past noon.
Anyways, on with the day…
The evening was tough. I think the jet lag in combination with the ‘I hear mosquitoes flying’ effect, kept me from reaching the sought after state of sleep. Thank goodness I have that mosquito net though, especially by the sound of those relentless buggers.
My morning departure from Kushinagar was much easier. Two hours later, my rucksack was strapped to the top of a new bus and I was heading to Sunauli, a town next to the India/Nepal border. I passed out and awoke to the stillness of the bus’s engine being cut and the static hot sun, shining through the window.
While I may have been suckered into paying more, a rickshaw driver convinced me to let him help me cross the Nepal border. I did get through customs and obtain my Nepali visa much quicker…in reality he did help.
I am staying at a somewhat of a fancy hotel, in Lumbini, near the main garden. I made a quick run through, stopping at the eternal torch, the Burmese Stupa, and then to the archeological site of the Maha Devi Temple – the birth place of Siddhartha Gautama.
There was a quiet and calm feel to the air as I stood on the wooden deck looking down at the glass encasement of the stone marker, “The exact birth place of the Buddha”.
Somewhat unexpected… I started to get teary eyed.
Siddhartha was a baby.
For some odd reason, I was affected by this. Of course he was a baby…
I guess with all of the teachings and the suttas that I have read and studied, they have always focused on his adult life up to his death. I was used to that image of the emaciated Sid, the Buddha, and the old reclining dying Buddha.
He was a baby that cried and pooped, giggled and laughed, drooled and slept.
Yeah, I’m getting sleepy… not making sense.
Write more tomorrow, falling asleep.
(Baby, I'm an Anarchist! - Against Me!)