"And let one cultivate a boundless heart of loving kindness towards the whole world - above, below and across, unhindered, without hatred, without enmity. Whatever living beings there may be; whether weak or strong, large, medium, short or small, seen and unseen, those living near and far away, those born and yet-to-be-born; May all beings be well and happy!"
- The Buddha (Discourse on Loving Kindness [Metta Sutta])
The kaleidoscope of Buddhist sight and sound is diverse and enduring, yet unifying. Its message of peace and compassion traverse throughout regardless of the language spoken, lifestyle of a people and climate of a place. Moving through this unique rhythm of social impulses, the traveler discovers a rich fabric of humanity that can only be found in Buddhism.More than just describing places and what to see, Buddhist Travel would like to see more cross cultural exchanges, and hopefully some "loving kindness" will rub off with whoever you meet, far or near, large or small, in the spirit of the Metta Sutta.
The place of Gotama's spiritual awakening is today hallowed ground, a place of pilgrimage and site of the Mahabodhi temple.The present temple dates from the 5th and 6th centuries and is said to be one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick still intact.There are seven spots within the complex that are of importance, corresponding to the seven weeks that the Buddha spent meditating and fasting, including the bodhi tree and Muchalinda pond, where a giant serpent is said to have sheltered him during a storm.All kinds of everyone come here, seekers and onlookers, clergy and laity, old and young, Indians and foreigners, Buddhists and not.I'm not sure what I am myself: a sort of Buddhist on a pilgrimage of sort? When you undertake pilgrimages, even one as tentative as mine, you journey inwards even as you venture out.
First a confession: Religion holds no special appeal to me. It has inspired too much irrationality and violence. Abdicating reason for blind faith seems a dangerous thing. But Buddhism I could live with, which is apt in a way because, as some people say, it is not a religion. They are correct, strictly speaking, because religion in the conventional sense means a system of worship centred around a supernatural god.