Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pilgrim to India: July - August 2007

Happy New Year!

From my understand from my sutta study class, in the Maha Parinibbana Sutta, the buddha mentioned that, after his pari nibbana, his followers should make visit to the place of his birth (Lumbini, Nepal), the place of his enlightenment (Bodhgaya, India), the place of his first discourse (Sarnath, India) and the place of his death or pari nibbana (Kushinaga, India). This in fact became the important force for me to make the 3 months trip to India. For pilgrim and to see this great nation of India, a land of culture, wisdom and real lives.
It was like a reflection of the impermanent, my computer hardisk clashed not long after i came back from India. i was a dummy who thought this kind of thing could never happen to me, so i do not have a back up. i lose part of my pictures in India and almost all of my pictures in the beautiful Nepal (Pokhara, Lumbini and Kathmandu Valley). What i left was just a few hardcopies and a few softcopies that i burnt it into CD and sent to a friend, who at that time was in UK. When i went to UK later, she burnt the CD to me and i got a few pictures back.
I would like to keep a few of my pilgrim pictures over here, before the end of the year.
In year 2009, i wish all be happy and peace. Sukhihotu.

Lumbini Garden.
In the building behind, the visitors can see the foot print of the baby buddha (it is said so) and the ruins of the original garden.
Lumbini like any other buddhist holy places, formed an international village of temples from all different country and tradition.
I crossed the border from Gorakhpur, India to Nepal.
People just come and go from the border without custom.
I missed the custom in India (it is a small cubical in a row of shop house) and i actually went back and ford around the border, trying to find it.

This bodhi tree is said to be the descendant from the original tree that buddha gained enlightenment.
i am not sure whether the tree gives extra inspiration, but the shade under the tree is just so good as a place to do meditation.
Different pilgrim groups from around the world will sit near to the tree, with a monk giving sermon to the disciple.

Sarnath, the big stupa behind is to commerate where Buddha gave his first sermon.

Coming from the pilgrims crowded Bohgaya, Kushinaga is relatively peaceful and calm, like a small village. (at that time of the year, it was end of scorching hot summer and went into the flooding rainy season, which have less tourists or pilgrims.)

The ruins of Nalanda, the first Buddhist University in the world.

Rajhir, many of the teachings from Buddha were given on this hill.
It wasn't an easy journey to make alone from Bohgaya to here.
The transportation was a bit tricky. i owned to many people for their kindness to help me in the transportation.

The famous Mahabodhi Temple in Bohgaya.
Well... When i was at these holy buddhist places and even at this momement when i looked back, i would say that, instead of feeling in the pilgrim, i feel more like another visitors who knows a bit of buddhism, and went sightseeing to the places.
The benefits of going there by myself instead of going with the pilgrim group are may be, i get more time to wander around the places, do whatever i wanted and appreciate the places in my own way.
But for the side of spiritual inspiration, i guess i could possible to gain more if my trip was with a buddhist teacher or monk.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Spring & Summer 2008

Tribute to Montreal

We stayed first at Mont-royal East, and then we moved to Bernard West. The East is the French speaking area, while the West is the more English speaking area. Bernard West itself, is actually a Jew community. Both places are unique in its own and in fact, Montreal is just unique.

Olympic Stadium and Montreal Tower.
The dome's roof is supposed to be able to open, but it only did once ...
This structure is so expensive that, it puts the Montrealer in debt for a long long time.

Montreal City view from Montreal Tower.
The green iron bridge is Jaques-Cartier Bridge.

Quarter Latin of St Denis.
It is a fine dinning and shopping areas.

A hotel advertisement at the gay area.
Montreal have a large community of gay and people are rather open/acceptance about this.

It is like a small zoo where children learn about different kind of ecology.

Botanical Garden.
The Chinese Garden is completed with the help of expert from China.

As long as there are Chinese, there is a Chinatown.
i can even get the Malaysian Ipoh Old Town Coffee or Tea here!

Saint Joseph Obrituary.
This is such a majestic and giant structure that, it worth to pay a visit even for none religious purpose.

Notre Dame at Old Montreal.
Beautiful and serene.
Celine Dion's son is baptised here.

Mont-royal Avenue, right outside the window from our room.

Jean Talon Market.
This is a bit like the market in Asia and we like to buy our fresh supplies of food here.

St Gabriel.
i never associate beach with a lake before.
For me, beach means by the sea.
But in Quebec, obviously many beaches people are talking about are by the big lake.
So, it is fresh water beach.

Every summer at around July, there is a two weeks international fireworks.
This is Austrian fireworks.
The bridge, Jaques-Cartier, is closed during the fireworks day, for the public to watch the fireworks.

Quebec Day, 24 June.
The celebration of Quebec Day is way much appreciated than the Canada Day (1 July).
Both are like national day, but one is at the provincial level.

Chutes Monte-a-Peine-et-des-Dalles.
This waterfalls is around 2 hours drive from Montreal.
From time to time, eventhough it is dangerous and not allowed, but some people still dive from the falls ... for fun ... and died.

Hair-cutting at the private cottage by Lac Breeches. :)

Tam-tam at Mont-royal Park on Sunday, throughout the Summer.