4am. Groggy, but inspired, I wake. I don't really know where the Mahabodhi Temple is, but I'll just walk and figure it out. It's still dark outside, and everyone's still asleep, not even the pilgrims.
Guided by the occasional street lamp, I wandered my way to what looked like the main temple. Just as I entered, a deep voice started chanting over the air. 🔊"Buddham Sharanam Gachchami...." The hairs on my arms stood up. I thought I was imagining things, but it must be the first morning chant. Fueled by this magical moment, I strode assuredly into the temple ground.
I found a lawn near the bodhi tree where Buddha gained enlightenment, laid out my mat, and tried to meditate. But it was so hard. The mosquitos were killing me. It was biting cold in this early morning. I felt super inspired by the space, but had none the steadiness nor the will to be able to sit through the mosquitos and cold.
Despite everything, it's still a beautiful place to rise to. The air is thick with spiritual awe. The morning birds flock to the bodhi tree, 🔊 singing a song of dawn. Other pilgrims had began to stroll in, offering prayers, bows, or just mere presence. In a distance, more 🔊chanting can be heard playing through the air. The growing light dappling through the leaves of the big enlightenment tree, signalling the beginning of a new day of dancing with life, in life.
After a while, I decided to stop. Rather than try to keep the appearance of the outward form of meditation, why not just be present to the magic of the present moment, and let that be my meditation? I unfold my feet, and just sit there taking it all in - the air, the birds, the chant, the light.
Mornings beneath the bodhi tree in Bodhgaya.
Aimlessness, non-achievement and the practice of non-practice. Why try so hard at meditation when just being able to be present in all our capacities might already be enlightenment enough?