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Published: February 20th 2008
Train ride to Gaya from Banenesh
In the sleeper class...it was non-stop action! Nice view from the top berth. =)
I have now been in India since 2/4. Since then, I have been sheisted at the Delhi train station, overpaid for the Taj Mahal, walked around at the old castle ground of Fatepur Sikr (shi-kri), watched the puja from a boat with a few beers, twitched in bed from an opium cookie from the government bhang shop, had a whole-body experience on Bhang, and attacked by a baby monkey in Varansi. I've also met some fantastic ppl....
Aaaaaaaaaaaand now I'm in Bodh Gaya - home of the Bodhi Tree where the Buddha sat under to reach enlightenment. I am staying at a wonderful Burmese Vihara where a met a local Californian (2nd american I've met) named Pema (his Tibetan name). He is studying Tibetan Buddhism at a local monastary & institution. Bodh Gaya is pretty amazing - pilgrims from all over the world gather here to honor Buddha - from Cambodia, Burma, China, etc. They were all at the main temple - where the Buddha walked around (clock-wise) to reach englightenment. But Pema took me to his school...quite nice. met a chinese-eurpean Environmental Architect who is helping the monastaries with building more efficient water systems. And another SF'er who is
Boy on train
We watched everything from up top. He was creative enough to stick his shoes on top of the fans. Cooool.
a translater from tibetan to english. AWESOMEEEEEEEEe
I am scheduled to head out to Dharmsala tonite to go see the Dalai Lama speak. **For those interested, the Dalai Lama will be in Seattle in April - http://tibet.com/teachings.html. Dharmsala is basically his home in India. There are many Tibetans here that have taken refuge. The train ride is about 30+ hours & then a 4 hour bus ride...ouch. But all will be well. Dharmsala will have many tourists, but all with the same hippy mentality - spiritual enlightenment, shanti, buddhism, etc. Almost like a small San Francisco (hollah at me!) I don't mind it too much...it'll be good.
I came here yesterday from Rajgir - not touristy & a 2.5 hr bus ride from Gaya. It was very beautiful. I took a single Gondala ride up to the Vishwashanti Stupa - recessed in the stupa are golden statues of the Buddha in the 4 stages of his life. I'll have videos of the ride later.
Anyway, it has been a great trip so far & I will keep in touch via blog. Where I go next? Who knows. I was actually Kolkota bound, but then someone told me
Bodh Gaya Stupa_01
This is where it all happened - the bodhi tree where the buddha reached enlightenment. Pilgrims from all over the world visit to pay homage & follow in the footsteps of the Buddha.
about the Dalai Lama so I couldn't pass up the chance to see him. I maybe meeting some Swedish girls in Rishekesh (one of the oldest civilizations in the world) & then off to Goa where I'll be lounging for a few weeks at my friend's cottage on the beach.
But yeah, it's taken me a bit to unwind & strictly just relax & travel. Believe it or not - it's a mentality that takes time. & another thing that takes time is to not misinterpret indian's curiousity & actions as menacing or degrading. Though they stare, stare & stare some more. They are sweet & will give up a seat to the foreigner...I'm slowly getting there.
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