Thursday, June 6, 2013
Circling the stupa
Today, I recalled a Buddhist monk whom I watched in Sarnath, India—birthplace of this perennial philosophy—circling the oldest and one of the most famous stupas (स्तूप), and earthen relics, on foot. I wondered if he has since paused the churning wheel of time or stayed the cycling of samsara (संसार) to seize a fugitive moment of satori (संस्कृत), an "aha" or "eureka" in the otherwise grinding momentum of the day. Perhaps that occurred when his sandal strap snapped or his belly called out for a vegetable samosa. Who knows. Here he is in his elegant robe and perfect posture. Be sure to greet him if he passes by your local 7/11 or Walmart or when you spot him walking along the highway. Chances are, though, that he might be sporting longer hair, carrying a backpack, or bumming a few coins or a smoke. Sages and monks and wise spirits seem to arrive in many guises.