Sunday, October 23, 2005

Piety and bullhorns

In the morning the rains lift away , and Kushinagar beyond the the plastic tarps and mala stalls is reavealed . Giant Thai-style stupa just across the dharamsala where I've stayed, and the vaguely 50's sci-fi hall housing the sleeping Buddha and a reliqary stupa behind it.

Pilgrimage : the endless re-inventing of the mix between piety and tourism. A Thai group arrives , bringing coverings ( like giant bedspreads in silk) for the sleeping Buddha - a soft spoken moment.

The next moment ... I think Siddharta would have laughed at the scene of the procession being led around stupa by a monk with a bullhorn , leading the prayers the same time.

Siddharta , who told people not to worship or believe him , only trust what people have tested with their own reasoning. And the early followers in the first monasteries, who made a concise statement on the use of imagery : the only embellishment found was a lotus bullseye in the urinoar.

Later I walk out to the cremation stupa (with numerous stops for chai, ras malai etc) together with Ramesh. The antipode of the gilt , slender Thai stupa : unadorned brick, oxidised black , with a indented profile that reminds me , gives some of the feelings as patients with "open lid" after brain surgery. Small flecks of gold leaf in the black.


titti said...

Jo-även jag vill följa dig (virtuellt) på 100m avstånd. En varm tanke och en stor kram från ett frostigt umeå.

Kristian said...

...Fast nu tycker jag att han får ta och pallra sig hem!