Saturday, May 13, 2006
i came home from work yesterday evening and the neighbor family was out front.
they were going to the temple later in the evening and invited us.
i went upstairs to the boyz and we decided to do it. got showered and found white clothes.
eventually we left. only the ladies from the family came. we walked in a bit of a parade down the main street.
long white cotton skirts, long black hair loosely tied
full moon like the open mouth of God far away joyful
we walk along the main street
paper lanterns white, christmas lights but...Buddha lights
its quiet where its normally loud, few cars
but many people, white clothes and open hearts like the moon
it feels peaceful tonight
we carry bags of flower blossoms, a few boxes of incense, a squeeze bottle of homemade coconut oil. i don't yet know the purpose of it all.
we turn down a small street. there are buddhist flags like banners across the road all the way down. we can see the glowing white dome and spire of the temple behind the stone carved walls. tuktuks honk, men in sarongs and flipflops, lots and lots of people flowing past each other like a gentle river. not intimidating. peaceful. lots to look at. stimulation of the senses. i'm wide eyed. so are the boys. we approach the entrance. take off our shoes in a pile. each family makes a pile of flipflops. the ground is sand and it feels cool. it's night but it's still hot. our feet feel good. everywhere we look there are recycled glass jars with coconut oil and a wick. lit and glowing. these lamps line both sides of our walk into the temple.
i look up and see the full moon to the right of the huge white dome and spire. its soooo beautiful.
many people. little kids with scrunched up eyes closed, little hands pressed together and put to the forehead facing the buddha. between their hands are lots of flower blossoms. when the prayer is over they walk up to the buddha and carefully place each blossom in a pile. we light coconut oil dishes. there are hundreds. people's faces are glowing brown and beautiful as we stand together lighting each dish. old silver haired women float here and there. many buddha statues, some painted, crimson red, baby blue. some of the shrines have neon lights. hundreds of sticks of incense burn in each pot. the smoke wafts over us lifting our eyes back to the moon. the people feed this temple, with flowers, with oil, with incense, with money donations. i prayed for peace. the neighbor ladies filled our hands with blossoms, led us around. it was a nice experience. they grew up going to that temple. we walked back home together. just walking together felt almost as good as seeing the beauty of the temple.
tonight we are meeting my colleague and his daughter for an indian dinner at a restaurant in town. on the way home we'll drive by the vesak lantern competition. i bet it's beautiful.
feeling blessed and happy. mindful of the challenges and war in the north and east. thankful for the quiet normal life we are living in colombo. praying for those living in fear tonight. aware of the blessing we have of being safe.
love you all.
the three musketeers