Project 365: Day 125 – In Buddha’s home ground


3rd November 2014 – Lumbini, Nepal

Surrounded by a religion that takes tolerance to a whole new level.
By repetition, and by reciprocation, this doctrine was dinned.
I find myself immersing to deep here, in waters that I never knew existed.
Like a giant clock, the spinning wheels carried my prayers into the wind.
Playing and praying - Lumbini, Nepal

Playing and praying – Lumbini, Nepal

Since I had crossed into Nepal only by sundown yesterday, I had barely seen anything in Lumbini yet. So, today was my day to step out and see what I could of this idyllic town.

Lumbini, like Bodhgaya, is a very important place for the Buddhist tourist circuit simply because of the fact that Buddha was born here. And this is clearly inscribed on the Asokan pillar, which stands exactly at the spot where he was born and gives Lumbini a tax-free status in honour of Buddha’s birth.

But more interesting are the various international monasteries and temples, built by the Buddhist missions of various countries. There were missions from countries as diverse as Myanmar to France and Austria. But my favourite monastery of the day was the German Monastery, situated in the West Monastery region. (The whole of Lumbini’s monastery stretch is separated by a long canal, which separates it into West and East.)

The German monastery is flanked on 4 sides by 4 giant spinning wheels. And people spun these wheels while saying their prayers, and most of them did not even chant as spinning the wheel has the same effect as reciting a prayer. One thing that I learnt today was that every in a Buddhist monastery has to be done in a clockwise direction. You spin the prayer wheels in a clockwise direction. You walk around the monastery in a clockwise direction. I was walking around in an anti-clockwise direction, when I was told that it was unlucky and I shouldn’t be doing that.

I have to change my sense of direction now.

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About Abhi Surendran

Abhi quit his corporate job, and decided to immerse himself in travels, photography, occasional periods of bankruptcy, and copious amounts of insanity. He is currently working on a book of his experiences, and a dream road trip through South Asia. Both in a haphazard fashion. He blogs at Iamnothome and you can also catch him at times on Facebook and twitter.

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