Jeff's Buddhist Pilgrimage 2005 travel blog


This is where the Buddha died. At the age of 85 after teaching the dharma for 40 years he said to his Monks: "Now monks it is the nature of all conditioned things to arise and decay. Practice with diligence." His final words reinforced a central theme he taught which is that all things are impermanent. Although I grasp this intellectually, I often forget that all I know is changing and that I too will die someday. This trip has been a case study of impermanence.

On the way here I got lost in 'Indian TV" which is what I call watching the crazy, bustling Indian landscape whir by out the bus window. It is so compelling that when I closed my eyes to meditate, I would soon be seduced back for more. After a grueling 5 hour bus ride I felt a mixture of intoxication and motion sickness.

We had a delightful visit and meditation sit at the Mahaparanivana Temple which was built to commemorate the spot where the Buddha died. There is lovely golden, reclining Buddha statue some 10 meters long. During our meditation we were blessed with the hauntingly beautiful chants of a sole monk. He was chanting the Mahaparanibbana Suta from the Pali Canon. It was quite moving.

Then I had a nice visit with the director of the Kushinagar Clinic which is a low-cost clinic on the grounds of the Thai Temple. Several of the larger foreign temples and monastaries on the pilgrimage circuit have there own clinics and dispensaries. They usually subsidize the cost of health care with contributions from citizens of the country of origination. This clinic had 2 full-time paid doctors and 3 pharmacists. It averaged

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