The return of Lumbini

Yes Lumbini part two, as Ellen signposted I'd like to say something too.

Not much to look at in Buddha Nagar the small commercial hub. Even Clint Eastwood would have wafted through and not paid much attention while drifting the high planes. Maybe a gnarled old gunslinger chatting to a colleague too young to be dead yet. We chose our room cheap and got what we paid for. Chose the Lotus cafe for beer and food. Does anybody do bad food? Chatted to some lovely Canadian women and a Thai guy. They came from the equivalent of Cornwall, prince so and so Island in the Far East of Canada. It gets very cold there.

Back to Lumbini, the only example I know of a Religious United Nations setup. Some bright visionary brought up the land surrounding the Buddhas birthplace, a sizeable chunk of the marshy mosquito and malaria infested area of Nepal called the Terai. It's a long slither of land separating the Himalaya and the Indian hoards. It gets pretty steamy and grows most of the food. The purchaser did some extensive land and waterscaping and set up 40+ lots so that each country's Buddhist tradition could set up their own temple. You have to hand it to the Buddhists, great idea. Imagine Christians contemplating a similar setup.

We hired bikes to get around the site. The whole place is only slightly down at heel. Lots of guards. Loads of non-urgent building work going on. Some sumptuous temples. We chose the most pristine, which of course was German funded according to the gate keeper. The only blades of grass out of position were those that had grown a little in the hour since they were last cut. The large heavy prayer wheels ran as smooth as a Merc. It was beautiful in a kitch way.

The Puja that Ellen described was in full flow. After a few seconds settling in at the back with other Western gawpers the atmosphere could be appreciated. Obviously a holy and venerable place. But interestingly not holier than thou. The young boy monks shifting fiddling and nudging with big grins. Teenager monks whispering jokes to each other. The lama often just looked around cleaning his glasses. And in amongst all of this a tall lanky youngish monk was slowly going round all the assembled dishing out tea from a huge tea pot. Then I saw that as well as the usual cushion to sit on and small table to place holy words most monks had a collection of other goods including tea cups hidden under the desks.

This was a living service, a living beautiful scene. Life and spirit together.




Author: paul

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