I like old things and places. Whenever I travel, especially to different countries, old temples and buildings as well as national and historical museums are on the list of places that I must visit. So, imagine my leap of joy while biking (yep, pedal bicycle!) around the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap! No, it wasn’t like Angelina Jolie or Indiana Jones kind of exploring but still, Julian (the old Spanish photographer-who lives in Ireland-and works as cargo plane customer service specialist whom I’ve met in Phuket) and I had fun! Sadly, Julian departed the night before and en route to our favorite food stall inside the Angkor Archaeological Park, I passed by this group of towers opposite to the Terrace of the Elephants. Called Prasat Suor Prat, these 12 identical towers are believed to may have been built post-Bayon era, aka around 11th century (it’s a good thing I kept my free Angkor Archaeological Park temple guidebook). Made of laterite and sandstone, the Prasat Suor Prat was said to function as a “lock-up” cell for parties involved in a “legal dispute and matters of criminal justice”. After a few days of being confined in site the Prasat Suor Prat, the one who ends up sick is declared the losing party, “guilty by divine decree”. Hmmmm. Haha 🙂 I didn’t get the chance to see the towers up close so if you get to, please let me know if the Prsat Suor Prat makes you feel the divine presence as well!>
I first read about Buddha and Nirvana when I was in high school. Or at least that’s what I remember. But all I used to remember was this prince who meditated so hard that he became enlightened. No, don’t blame my teachers. It’s probably due to my lack on general interest for history at the time.
It was only when I traveled to Bangkok as part of my Backpacking South East Asia in 2011 that I had my first real encounter with Buddha, Buddhism and Nirvana.
Of course, I am not saying that I know a lot. But I think I know enough to say that I think the teachings of Buddhism (at least the ones I heard of) ring true, even today. Or, perhaps, especially today.
But anyway, this post is not really about Buddhism and Nirvana in the religious sense. More of in a historical and artistic note I think. You see, I have seen several versions of Buddha’s Sleeping Position (reclining for some) as he enters Nirvana–from golden statues to simple stone form to massive temple-sized carving.
I don’t know if it differs based on the sects or schools of Buddhism but one thing is for sure—all of these show the Buddha in a rested and peaceful state. I guess Nirvana really is enlightening. Or something like that. So, below are some of the Buddha’s Sleeping Positions that I have seen from different countries and states.
And, as bonus, I also included here a photo from the 4th Generation Bodhi Tree at the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India. It is under the ancestors of this Bodhi Tree that Buddha was said to have attained enlightenment and entered the Nirvana.
Of course, I will be a liar if I’d say that I reached Nirvana or was “enlightened” in the same sense that Buddha did but I did feel great, as in kind of at peace, when I went to Bodh Gaya with my co-volunteers. Maybe someday, you can try it for yourself too.
If you want to visit the Mahabodhi Temple Complex and the other Buddhist temples at Bodh Gaya, you need to get in at Gaya Jn train station in Bihar and take a shared (Rs 20) or hired auto-rickshaw (tuktuk, Rs 150) or taxi (about Rs 500-700 at night). Leave a shoutout if you need more info. You can also read on our experiences or see more temples and activities (esp monks) at Bodh Gaya. If you really want to, you can also watch my videos/playlist for the Bodh Gaya trip.
I’m supposed to sleep already but since I remembered my upcoming backpacking trip across six countries in South East Asia in four weeks, I went back to tripline.net and tried to make my “trip line”. Here’s the product. I really hope I can raise the funds for this, especially since I’m slacking off with my other work!
Anyway, since I am on WordPress.com and not on WordPress.org, I can only share here the picture/general map. If you want to know where I’m going exactly, click on the Map to be redirected to tripline’s website. Once you get there, click “Full Screen” on the lower right side and then click the play icon. This has music in the background so if you don’t wish to get you bosses’ ire, don’t open it in your office without a headset on, ok?!
There’s also a list of places to be visited plus a little information just before you play the video. So, read on if you wish.