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Published: February 24th 2008
After a calm'ish train and hellish rickshaws, 2 friends and I arrived in Bodhgaya, this is in the next state Bihar and the town where the Buddha hung out for a few weeks during his nirvana two and a half centuries ago and where the Buddhist philosophies where born.
There are many Buddhist temples and Buddhist monasteries from all round the world and allot of Tibetan influence. The famous Buddha tree is here too amongst other things and this is a famous pilgrimage town.
It is so so different to Varanasi and the first nights guesthouse was laughable for many reasons so we looked for an ashram, we found a beautiful ashram which housed 50 or so loveable orphan kids, grew its own food and was in the shadow of the massive Mahabodi temple.
The kids where all happy and curious, so I showed them lots of cookie monster clips on my laptop - they loved it and would not leave me alone heheh :-) each day we washed them, gave them medicine, and gave them treats and played with them. If we where not here this would not happen!
The kids wash their own clothes by hand and
some are only 3 years old, they are all a good bunch a know what is right and wrong, share and help eachother and all seem very happy. They keep knocking on my door shouting "tv tv". I taught them to dance to the prodigy's "smack my bitch up" which is on my phone, play tag and say and understand the English alphabet :-) none of them are aggressive, or have attention disorders or have tantrums - none! Kids tv and un-natural food in the west may have something to answer to.
Each morning I do my personalised yoga routine I got from my yogi at Varanasi, and before this at 5.45am 3 of us visit the Japanese temple in the Japanese monastery and do an hour of Zen Buddhist meditation with the Japanese monks. They hit gongs, chant and beat drums and its very good energy. There is a way to sit and a way to calm the mind down etc and its all good stuff. When we leave the temple the sun is rising as a big orange ball of fire :-)
There are amazing Tibetan tent style restaurants about the town with the most
amazing thumpka and mo-mo's for around 40p, Tibetan food is climbing my world food leaderboard very quickly.
On the second day here the Indian president arrived in town and the town was strange as soldiers with machine guns mixing with Buddhist monks, now that is polar opposites if ever I saw it. My friends where laughing at some of my conspiracy theories, so I showed them the film at www.zeitgeistmovie.com and their jaws dropped ...I think much of their belief systems floated away in just a couple of hours....heheh...the laughter stopped and turned into questions heheh.
Kim lived in china for a year and learned advanced tai chi - watching her do the 24 forms with a stick as a sword is amazing to see, we have a big courtyard on the first floor/roof which looks over the big Buddhist temple and the ashrams vegetation.
Kim, agi and I where offered to go to a school opening 2 hours away and to speak at the ceremony - we agreed but did not know what it entailed. We got there and where treated like international delegates, we each where introduced and given flowers. We made a speech about
India, our home countries and education, it was really good. Bihar is the poorest state in India so a new school which houses poor kids is a big thing, the runner of our ashram is a pretty famous bloke in India doing much good, the dalai lama has spoken of him before.
The next few days entailed sitting in the gardens of the Buddhist temple reading and picnicking (whilst listening to Tibetan monks chanting mantras) and melting into day-to-day life in Bodh Gaya.
I also did a 3-day fast to clear out the system. It felt good as the 50 or so orphans do not eat too much and I felt bad gorging at the restaurant then returning to them.
One day I got my hair cut for 50p and the guy (he looked 15, but I have realised all Indian men either look 15 or 80) gave me a massage afterwards, he cracked my neck both ways and my ears, my neck has never felt so good, I am going back just for the neck yank.
we also went to a chips party on a roof run by a french and belgium guy, there
was a fire and good ppl. booze in india is pretty scarce but no problem.
we did a surprise pizza party for the kids too, idont think they ever had pizza and they had to be taught how to eat pizza. they loved it.
Also I learned lots about many things helping the children at the ashram.
I think some of India looks at poverty as a business, this is a shame. I will donate not a penny to the ashram (as I know from a German girl who has been here 3 months that they don’t spend much on the kids), I instead i will buy the kids loads of fruit, pizza and soap :-)
Right I am off to Nepal next, a whole new country. Kathmandu does nothing for me so I am off to pokhara ...I found this from someone and this enticed me;
"Imagine a perfect, snow-capped mountain buffeted by icy Himalayan winds. Imagine a millpond calm lake reflecting the snowy peaks. Now imagine a village on the shore, thronged by travellers and reverberating to the sound of 'Om Mani Padme Hum' wafting from shops selling prayer flags, carpets, masks, singing bowls
and CDs of Buddhist mantras. That's Pokhara."
hmm....just found out the border is closed as an election coming up and militants kicking off so not sure how to get there yet.
good books read on this trip so far: the healing power of illness, siddhartha, fundamentals of buddhism, the kybalion (again), much of asana oranayama mudra bandha and the pefection of yoga.
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