Thursday, October 23, 2008

Field Trip

Monday (or maybe Tuesday?) Caitlin and I ventured to Sarnath to hear a Dharma talk and do some walking meditation with Thich Nacht Hahn. He's on an international tour of some sort so he spent a few days in Sarnath. He spoke at the Damek Stupa (Chris, spelling?), in the Deer Park which is where the Buddha gave his first teaching. The sun was setting behind the stupa as he spoke and being in such a lovely, outdoor and informal setting was just lovely. Everyone sat on the ground and we were maybe 100 feet away from him. No security, no hassle, and only $2 to get into the grounds of the stupa. I can only imagine what such an event would've entailed in the US! He spoke about the need for understanding suffering and the path to happiness - pretty basic Buddhist doctrine. Caitlin seemed to really soak it up, which was neat to see. I'm afraid my pictures couldn't capture his warmth and liveliness - he seemed always to have a twinkle in his eye.

We wound up not doing the official walking meditation around the grounds of the Deer Park but wandered around the ruins on our own instead. With the sun setting it was quite cool and the soft light really turned the place into something special. Even better was being able to look over and see hundreds of people walking silently behind Thich Nacht Hahn and maybe 100 or so other monks and nuns.

In so many ways it was a wonderful escape from the grind of "normal" life in India.

1 comment:

Caitlin said...

Hello this is Caitlin. Mom your post covered most of this event but not all. One, I got in free. Two, I made a ring out of the carpet. Three, there were all those kids selling things -chocolate buddhas and post cards of what we see every day.