Thursday, 29 November 2012

Mountain Buddha.

A few years ago I took a trip to Sri Lanka. It was very busy indeed but during the holiday there were wonderful moments.

Our tour guide impressed upon us every day that Buddhism was not a religion...it was a system of philosophy.

This was hard to accept as statues of the Buddha were everywhere we looked...in multiples of hundreds and some huge ones...a system of ethical thinking surely doesn't need statues erecting?

On one day we were taken to a mountain....it was a climb but from the top could be seen one of the greatest statues..it was worth the climb.

There carved out of the mountain opposite was the serene figure of the Buddha, beautful in the sunshine and carved out of hard stone six thousand years before Christ. It was immense...

I separated from the rest of my party to stand on my own and look at it..

I was then startled to see a monk approaching me resplendent in his saffron robes...

He approached with smiles and excellent English and we had quite a conversation...on the nature of being called, on how the young monks were trained....the role of women, we covered alot of subjects...

A man from my party arrived looking anxious and and told the monk that in my own country I was a priest. The young man looked at me and smiled

"She is the enlightened one" he said simply..and went...

It was quite a moment.

Where ever we went, on the trains, in tuc tucs where ever there were signs saying "Reserved for clergy" my group put me in them....even a loo in one place.....I waited for someone to tell me off but they never did....

It was one of the most extraordinary times of my life..

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