This has been the repeated story from dad ever since he returned from Bodh Gaya few years ago. To catch a falling Bodhi leaf underneath the scared Tree replanted on the same spot where Buddha gained enlightenment. He always told his story of how he spent 8 hours under the tree watching and not moving and never once manage to get it. Only after he gave up and decided to pick up leaf from the ground like everyone else did people gave way for his first leaf picking experience. Most of them had leaf in their hands already.
From the story he told so many times I did not for once thought about season if it was autumn or summer. Dad reminded me of the challenge the moment I checked into Facebook that I have indeed arrived Bodh Gaya. Try he said with a snicker laugh I could clearly imagine, knowing that I would most likely fail.
First day and I spare the rush to visit the tree or the main Mahabodhi temple. Got food and to bed it was. Day 2 …. Time to visit the holy ground of Buddhist pilgrims, the Bodhi tree where Buddha gained enlightenment. No Phones or Ipod were allowed inside the garden grounds. Camera however was allowed with a fee. 100 Rp for a Camera, 500 rupee for a Video Camera. Shoes prohibited in temple grounds.
|Mahabodhi Temple - Bodh Gaya|
For once I was happy to see that Bodh Gaya did not commercialized everything other than the cameras. They provided free lockers storage for the hand phones or other electronic and of course the shoes as well.
The standard ply outside the entrance by peddles, trinket sellers, ceremonial offerings sellers and of course beggars was still around but not as bad as I thought. Only odd thing was that the ceremonial offerings that was sold looked more like it was meant for a Hindu temple instead of a Buddhist one. Then again what is a true Buddhist offering?
I got in the ground and marvel at the MahaBodhi temple which was grand and majestic in its own. Walking around the temple one can see the Bodhi tree where Buddha gained enlightenment encased in a triple cage of rock and iron. The tree grew up and speeded wide of course so people could still sit below the holy tree but not on the holy spot where Buddha gained enlightenment.
The spot had so many ornaments and structure offerings and trinkets or probably pure gold by the looks of it and then to prevent anyone from even sitting with his back leaning on the tree another cage of stone and iron was around the tree.
It’s safe to say …. You can’t see anything especially at the foot of the tree.
Did I mention the rain? It was raining when I got there as well a slight trickle but enough to get you soak if you stand out too long. For some reason I decided getting rained on was a good thing and walk around seeing and absorbing all I could of the place Bodh Gaya. Not long after the rained intensified while I was below the Bodhi Tree , I seek the only shelter underneath a foot wide archway which was the 3rd wall around the temple and the tree.
Not before long the thunderous rain chased everyone away except me and two monks who was drench walking to and fro in front of the tree meditating.
One of the monk looked at me while I just observed them and smiled. He veered off his meditation walk path, picked up something from the ground that was flooded with water and walked to me to pass me a leaf of the Bodhi tree. This happened three times, no words spoken, while I never asked for it he never demanded anything for it.
I decided to leave after a while … the heavy rain had soak me though fully and I was starting to shiver unable to bare the cold. On the way out I picked up the forth leaf that I saw on the ground. Got my phone and slippers and checking the time it had been exactly 1 hours since I went in. Thinking of dad and his 8 hours wait for 3 leafs I was smiling on my way back to the guesthouse.
Out of the the wet clothes and a photo to dad …..:)
|Bodhi Leaves from Bodh Gaya|
End of day 2 in Bodh Gaya