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Published: August 12th 2007
Dhanekh Stupa, marks the spot where Buddha gave his first sermon after reaching enlightenment
2550 years ago, Prince Siddhartha Gautama became enlightened under a Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya and became the Buddha... After that he went to Sarnath and gave his first sermon on how to free yourself from suffering... Buddhism was born...
Well not that I feel the need to free myself from suffering, because I don't think I suffer that much, but following in the footsteps of the Buddha, I went to Sarnath and Bodhgaya to be enlightened myself... As both villages have a lot of Buddhist monks from around the world and even more Buddhist tourists, they don't feel much like India... And because they are small they are like a breath of fresh air after the hustle and bustle of Varanasi and the other big cities I was in... So I sat under the Bodhi tree and meditated on the meaning of life and came to the conclusion that I needed to escape the heat on the Indian plains because the brain needs cooling down after all the contemplation...
So upward towards Darjeeling and beyond my journey took me... And out of India, or so it would seem at first glance... Different people, mostly Nepali or from Sikkim, different
Buddhist ruins around the Stupa
mentality, different scenery... Some things don't change though, there might not be any rickshaw drivers trying to cheat you, but there are plenty of jeep drivers who have taken on that responsibility... Still the people seem more relaxed up here and the place is very peaceful... Must be that mountain air or else the tea! Still my quest for inner peace wasn't satisfied and so after a few days I decided do to the Singalila Ridge trek, together with a ragtag bunch of guys... And here in the serenity of nature under the watchful gaze of the highest mountains on earth I found my peace... There is nothing like the sun setting into the clouds in the valley or rising and casting its rays on the Himalayan range to find that heaven is indeed a place on earth... Here even a simple mortal may find true enlightenment... Ascend my friends, ascend on the stairway to heaven...
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