I am already on the third installment of John Burdett’s Bangkok series, a book called Bangkok Haunts – I am reading the Kindle version on the free Kindle for iPhone application. In what seems to me typical Thai fashion the book is able to move effortlessly between violence, sex and spirituality. Here is a snippet from a conversation between the main character of the book, a cop in Krung Thep, and a monk:
Saved? There is nothing to save, my friend. You cannot caste yourself into the Unknowable in the hope that gesture will buy you salvation – you have to jump for the hell of it. In a nirvanic universe there can be no salvation because we are never really lost – or found. The choice is simply between nirvana and ignorance. That is the adult truh the Buddha urges upon us. We are the sum of our burning. No burning, no being.
When I traveled in Asia for a year, a long time ago, I was constantly amazed and delighted by the ability of so many people (((seemed like everybody was able to do that))) to switch from the mundane to the spiritual and back in no time at all. Spirituality is not reserved for a fixed hour per week, but is constantly present and referenced.
In Japan, Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated on April 8, but is not a national holiday. On this day, all temples do celebratory events/festivals called 灌仏会 (Japanese: Kanbutsu-e), 降誕会 (Goutan-e), 仏生会 (Busshou-e), 浴仏会 (Yokubutsu-e), 龍華会 (Ryuge-e), 花会式 (Hana-eshiki) or 花祭(Hana-matsuri, meaning ‘Flower Festival’). The first event was held at Asuka-dera in 606. Japanese people pour ama-cha (a beverage prepared from a variety of hydrangea) on small Buddha statues decorated with flowers, as if they bathe a newborn baby.
Another Time Lapse test. I propped the Nokia N95 up on a rock and set it at one photo every 10 seconds. Then I went to Mellow Velo to check on my bike. When I came home the memory card was full. The resulting photos were processed at 24 images/second. Since I left the mobile on automatic the exposure changes and the phone re-focuses a couple of times, but the general look/vibe is pretty nice.
The more you sense the rareness and value of your own life, the more you realize that how you use it, how you manifest it, is all your responsibility. We face such a big task, so naturally we sit down for a while.
– Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi (1938-2002)