The Ganges River, Sunrise on October 18, 1998. The Ganges source is the Himalayas. That makes it sacred to many peoples. There is an ancient tradition of cremation along the shores of the river at Varanasi (the city near Sarnath). The burning sites are called Ghats. The fires come from a central flame that is continuous and ancient. Where you see smoke in the photo, a cremation is taking place. Our group filled one long-oared boat. We were very quiet and filled with some version of awe and compassion. The Sakya Rinpoche brought his brothers ashes to be laid to float on the river this morning.
The Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya, where Buddha attained Enlightenment. A nine-storied pyramid, this is truly one of the most, if not the most, extraordinary sacred space on the planet.
After taking off your shoes, you walk up to the entrance of the Mahabodhi Temple. On the left are monks doing prostrations. Rinpoche said that prostrations are the best way to remove physical obscurations, those physical qualities that make it difficult for us to perceive our higher, enlightened self. In the upper right, you can see into the inner chamber that includes a large lit Buddha image and
This circular black stone, marking the ley-line power center. A monk explained, This is point zero. It is said that this is the only place on the planet stable enough to withstand the energy from Buddhas enlightenment.
Monks circumambulating the Temple.