Today was another road trip. We were to start at 5:00 as the monk’s last meal must be before noon, and we had a long drive to reach our lunch spot.
This is actually their last meal of solid food, afternoon they are allowed liquids, so soup is always served to the monks about the time that we would normally have dinner.
We didn’t actually hit the road until 6:00 and that was in the deep fog, so driving was slow.
The monks informed us that there were no watches during Buddha’s time and that there are special dispensations for travel, but we still did not reach our destination until around 1:00. There were some monks that adhered to the rules, and as I write this at 9:00 at night, they are really very hungry.
Our lunch spot was at the Buddha Vihar Shanti Upvan in Lucknow. They served us royally in their stunning dining room
We were many miles from lunch to our final destination and I was able to give two lectures, one on Ashoka and one on Sravasti, our next stop. I was truly honored when the monks thanked me, and are starting to call me teacher.
Behind us is an entire large bus of lay people and monks from the temple that hosted us that will be joining us in the chanting ceremonies at Sravasti. We are honored and pleased to have Indians attending this ceremony, this is the first time that native Buddhists have taken part.
The problem is there are already 2500 Tibetan monks in town for another event. We had made arrangements for our monks and ourselves to stay in a monastery, but the plans for our traveling companions fell through, so our crew was on the phone for hours, madly trying to make other arrangements. The head monk in Sravasti, or Rinpoche, did all the arranging, including some that will spend tonight in tents.
Our crew will have arrived ahead of us, and I understand that an entire crew of Thai people are in town just to help decorate the event with flowers.
It is truly amazing to watch this all unfold when you realize how far out in the country we are. We are only about 50 to 60 miles from Nepal.
This is Kavasara. He is still working on his English so I did not get much from him. He is from Burma and his Mother is from Thailand. She is 51, and he is here to do Buddhist studies.