Tuesday, January 24, 2012
the Mahabodhi Temple at night
As day light faded, I made my way back to the Mahabodhi Temple for one last visit.
I was worried about being out after dark, but the liveliness that continued around the temple reassured me.
The temple atmosphere was amazing in the cool bit humid evening. As the enduring mist quickly swallowed up the last light of day, yellow, orange, and green electric flood lights lit the temple giving it an even greater energetic pulse. Stepping inside the wall of the temple grounds was more like stepping into a dream than any worldly place my perceptions equate reality with. I noticed some of the same monks working through their prostrations but to complete 100,000, I just might see them still here next week.
On a small terrace full of stupas, I collected fallen bodhi leaves, like wide hearts with long tails, and pressed them between the pages of my book.
I walked back down the stairs to the corner of the temple where some young Tibetans played a game seeing how close to the temple wall they could walk while keeping their eyes closed. It looked like fun and I would have liked o join them but, as usual, I was stuck in 'observer mode'. From where I sat, though, I could feel the temple buzzing. I imagine it would be difficult not to open your eyes too soon!
I headed up the stairs and noticed that the little shops around the temple were still open. I was all statued out after Katmandu but in McLeod Ganj I had bought a bodhi seed mala and was told it cam from here. I looked around the different shops until I found one towards the entrance that had good quality and an interesting diversity. There were large dark brown seeds with a large Buddha eye on the and smaller lighter brown ones with triple eyes. They all had small, rough, sort of a reddish purple beads made from Rudraksha seeds known as the Vishnu mala. They've been used I bought a whole bag of an assortment of them figuring they'd make unique gifts hen I get back to Korea.