01 March 2008

In the Footsteps of... the Buddha.

After more hospitality than would have merited a thousand lifetimes of right acting, I departed Kolkata last night, without ever having seen the Victoria Memorial, and am now in Bodhgaya. My first rail journey in India came off unepisodically (辞書を作ってください!), and I look forward to many more (naturally I do, because I'm not part of that unenviable, in fact pitiable, scrum of humanity loaded into the steerage compartments, restlessly milling about, wriggling in hunger and agitation like insects under a recently lifted rock). As I mentioned, Bodhgaya is the site of Mr. Gautama's enlightenment under a bodhi tree. Said tree, or at least an offshoot of it, like the Burning Bush I saw betimes in Sinai, still grows on the exact spot--the Ground Zero of universal peace and salvation you might say. Do you believe it? I don't! But who cares? Bodhgaya is a wonderful little town, more navigable than Lumbini certainly, that latter's sites spread over an impressively large chunk of Terai under an oppressively hot Terai sun. It's still hot here, and I didn't have too many hours to sleep on the train, so unlike the other whites at the main temple, I did not submit myself to any devotions, devoting myself instead to walking in circles, lazily checking out the girls, and staring intently into the middle distance. I believe, however, that I am closer to the true intention of Buddhism than the others.

What else of note? I ate okanomiyaki for lunch, which is a yummy Japanese omelette sort of thing. My Japanese friends and fellow expats, and ex-expats like me, will know just how yummy it is. I believe the hottest part of the day has passed, and I may now venture outside again.

No comments: