Today we visited the birthplace of Gotama Sakyamuni the Buddha. His mother was foretold of his birth through a dream (annunciation). In the dream a white elephant descended from the sky and entered her right side. This was taken to be an omen of the birth of a special person. When she was about to give birth she went with an escort to the house of her parents, which was the custom. On the way there she went into labor and holding the branch of a tree she gave birth to Gotama. After that the group went back to Kapilavastu, for it was not necessary anymore to visit Maya’s parents. However 5 days after giving birth Maya deceased and was reborn in the highest heaven as Mayadevi (Maya the god).
The park where the official building stands where an Asoka pilar was found, inscribed by the king in about 250 BC, that the Buddha was born here. King Asoka marked the exact spot where the Buddha was born. Thousands of people go there every day to revere the Buddha. We went end did our prayers and our sutra reading. Then we meditated for about an hour. Although you hear the continuous sounds of the many people, it still is quite peaceful.
After our service we went and had a little lunch in one of the roadside restaurants. And then we visited the park. It is huge and every country got a plot for free to build their own temple in there. First we visited a Tibetan Buddhist temple with many beautiful paintings of the life of the Buddha. It was from a Kagyu line that is famous for its yogic practices.
We visited the Japanese temple, but it was still under construction. But we got a good impression of what it will look like in 3 years from now. So we planned to come back in three years time.
Then we visited a Vietnamese Son temple and a Korean Son temple. The atmosphere was so tranquile that we stayed to meditate for half an hour. It is striking how the Zen temples are sober and simple, while the Tibetan and Chinese are so colourful and exuberant. Especially the Chinese temple, which we visited last, housed a beatiful Buddha statue. The tranquility of the face and the emanating compassion was incredible.
Back in the hotel we are treated to young children dancing and singing.