Praying For The Enlightenment Of All Sentient Beings in Thimphu, Bhutan
In the middle of Thimphu, there is a large Chorten (another word for Stupa) on three levels.
Inside it there are magnificent paintings and sculptures.
On the day we visited this Chorten, the grounds were humming with people.
It was a multi-day religious festival in which people came to pray and walk around the Chorten, reciting prayers and mantras.
The purpose of the festival was to pray for the enlightenment of all sentient beings.
Our Guide, Sonam, said that we were a bit unlucky, that the interior of the Chorten was closed on the festival days and that we could not go inside to admire and get inspired by the beauty of the art inside.
I did not feel unlucky at all…..
In fact, I felt so blessed so I could see and witness such a gathering of so many devotees.
I stood there with my camera, taking pictures and videos of the chanting and the people clothed in their wonderful traditional clothing.
It felt like I was standing on the edge of a huge wave…. An ocean of kind souls….
I felt so much love surge from inside me, to all those people, young and old.
I felt love engulf me from head to toes.
I wanted to kiss the sweet retarded boy who could not recite the mantras, and just went around clasping his hands in devotion and humming unintelligible syllables.
I wanted to kiss the old man who came to us with a huge smile and told Jules that he has a most beautiful wife and that we look like a Wonderful couple together….
I wanted to hug the toothless women who came to me to be photographed and then to see how they looked in my camera.
They always laughed with shyness and covered their toothless mouths, suddenly becoming self-conscious about how chewing betel nuts colored their mouths crimson red…
I stood in awe as I saw the pilgrim who came here covering over two hundred kilometers, while prostrating himself completely on the gound every three steps.
His forehead and nose had permanent marks from pressing his head to the gound to offer prayers and devotion.
His devotion to overcome his ego and transform his attachment to physical comforts for the sake of his faith, humbled me so much…
It has been a long time since I felt such waves of love flood my heart.
It was a powerful and very real experience, and the feeling of unconditional love, that is not dependent on whether love is returned to me or not, stayed with me for many hours afterwards.