I’ve seen many temples this year, and a lot of Buddhas. However, as I bid farewell to Asia, I’m pretty sure this will be the last Buddha I see for a while. Sat in the grounds of a quiet temple in Kyoto, this Buddha seemed particularly serene bathed, as he was, in the warm glow of the autumn evening sun. It was very peaceful, a stark contrast to the busy streets of Tokyo, and the general pace of our high-speed lives in which few of us take enough time to sit for a while as Buddha always does.
I’ve enjoyed the temples of Asia, their peace and serenity is quite unique. While it’s fair to say that after a while one temple, or Buddha statue, is much like another, I nonetheless enjoyed the escape those moments in temples offered.
So, as I stood in front of Buddha this afternoon, I said a quiet goodbye, not in a religious or devotional way, but just in ‘so long’ kind of way. I’m leaving Asia in a few days and who knows if ever I’ll repeat the adventure I’ve had in Asia over these last few months. I suppose for me the Buddha came to symbolize the difference between where I was and where I’d come from. His presence was a constant reminder that I was somewhere far away, exotic maybe, challenging at times, but always far away. I liked that, the opportunity to become familiar with the unfamiliar, to be still for a moment in a year of constant travel, and to really absorb the wonder of this incredible journey.
I don’t know when I’ll next be stood in front of an impressive Buddha statue, it feels like it might be a while, though such is the nature of this journey, maybe it won’t be that long at all.