Every time I visit and spend time in Bodh Gaya,certain serenity soothes my mind and provides me time for radical reflection.When you visit Bodh Gaya,you should know that,more is there to mentally feel than to see from eyes.Accommodation and traveling depends on how deep your pocket is,but when you prefer average accommodation like me,mosquitos might test your tolerance at night so,keeps your repellents and sprays ready in order to avoid as much of anger and naysaying in such a holy land.
Bodh Gaya,the cradle of Buddhism,is situated in the Indian state of Bihar.We Buddhists visit Bodh Gaya every time with the heartfelt aim of awakening our moral senses and for gathering good karma to thrive with peace and nobility in the uncertain years yet to come.Bodh Gaya is physically not so big and not very tidy and most crowded in winter.It’s a place where I greatly realize about contentment,admiration,power of faith and religion,importance of simplicity and morality,etc. It’s a place exhibiting stark contrast between rich and poor.At one side,you would see Buddhist tourists from various parts of the globe in fancy clothing carrying fancy gadgets but,on other side not very far,you could witness the widespread poverty of the local Indians living near garbage filled swamps in plastic covered shacks,countless beggars and,semi naked kids playing and running barefooted on rough grounds.But it’s a great relief that through the past years,I have observed growth in condition of the local Indians due to the influx of tourists.
Mahabodhi temple is the heart and soul of Bodh Gaya.According to Buddhist texts,Mahabodhi Temple is considered as the center of earth and,it’s the place where you would see the very Bodhi Tree under which,Lord Buddha attained supreme enlightenment of wisdom and compassion.I’ve visited Bodh Gaya thrice in my life(my duration of stay if three visits combined is around a month) but I have never got used to the sight of Mahabodhi Temple.I immediately feel calm looking at the marvelous temple building surrounded by various smaller stone stupas. Monks in red,grey and orange robes and,different tongues and faces paying the same homage to the one who brought to Earth the religion based on analytic skepticism.The common scenes in Mahabodhi Temple are devotees meditating,prostrating,saying prayers,circling around the temple,offering heartfelt gifts(flowers,fruits,money,rice,robes etc.) to the statue of Lord Buddha inside temple etc.It is said in texts that some statues carved on the stupas and on the wall of temple literally spoke in the past and one of the statues, the Tara statue, was seen shedding real tears just before some years.The ambience of temple constantly emanates peace and utmost faith.Once when I was circling around the temple,there seated on the marble floor, I saw something very unique. Along the Tibetan and Sri Lankan monks,I saw a muscular bald westerner in round sun glasses and in a very exotic dressing style with various tattoos on his big arms.He was calmly going through Tibetan Buddhist texts there.That encounter really tattooed in me a practical example of not judging a book by its cover.
The food and basic requirements are not a problem in market.You can either savor Tibetan dishes or Indian spicy food in numerous restaurants present there.The market commonly displays souvenir articles,works of local craftsmen-carvings on wood and stones,rosaries,Tibetan accessories etc.
Nearby Bodh Gaya,there are a lot of holy places where Lord Buddha left his imprints through his exemplary benevolent acts.When I visit these holy places,I’m always lost and thrilled thinking that,it’s possible that at the very places where I stand,sit or walk right now,Lord Buddha might also have once stand,sit or walk.I greatly wonder about the magnificence of these holy places now silent and empty in the times of Lord Buddha.Then there is Nalanda University nearby also,the first recorded renowned university of the world in history where once the greatest Buddhist scholars lived,studied Buddhism and created histories.Now,we Buddhists study the texts authored by these Nalanda scholars but Nalanda itself is just a ruined monument now where we can skeptically analyze about, how meaninglessly evil human minds can become without morality.
To me,Bodh Gaya is an evidence of power of religion in bonding diverse cultures and it’s a place of realization and serenity.It holds great merry memories of togetherness of my big family and it’s a blessed land which boosts my admiration for Buddhism immensely.There are many people in Bodh Gaya whom might create great disgust and anger in you through their pathetic ways of extracting money from you like ridiculous lies and exaggerated pricings.When you encounter such vendors or people,reason with them gently and try to sharpen your tolerance skill(advantage of being in holy land).Somehow sympathetically,many of these poor greedy people have families to raise so,the extra buck u paid them might help them in upbringing their young ones more easily.
About the Author:I am Tenzin Palbar,a 19 years old Tibetan boy. I love my family and friends,Nature,Buddhism,Music,Sports,Writing and Photography.I currently live in Dharamsala,India.
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