Down and Out in Bodh Gaya, India

Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, is the site of the Bodhi Tree beneath which Buddha attained enlightenment

It started with a single shiver. In the 90 degree temperatures of Bodh Gaya, India, I suddenly felt chilled. I pulled my sweatshirt jacket close and snuggled into it. A few moments later, my whole body was wracked by a second shiver. My teeth began to chatter and my skin grew cold and clammy. First … Read more

PHOTO: Archeological Excavations of Ancient Buddhist Monasteries in Sarnath, India

Archeological excavations of ancient Buddhist monasteries in Sarnath, India. Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma here. The three structures in the distance, from left to right, are the Main Temple, the Dhamekh Stupa, and the Jain Temple

After his enlightenment, Siddhartha Gautama Buddha traveled to Sarnath, a village near Varanasi, India. There he shared the Dharma (teaching) with his closest disciples for the first time. He explained the four noble truths that became the foundation for the philosophy we now know as Buddhism. By the seventh century AD, more than 3,000 monks … Read more

PHOTO: Monks Wait to Meditate Beneath the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, India

Monks come to Mahabodhi Temple to meditate beneath the ancestor of the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, India, beneath which Buddha became enlightened

Monks wait to meditate beneath the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, India. According to legend, Siddhartha Gutama (Buddha) meditated on this exact spot without moving until he attained enlightenment. Records are unclear about how long he meditated; some say six days, others say 49 days, while some even say it took six years. Once Buddha … Read more

Varanasi, India – Heaven on Earth

Worshipers immerse in teh Ganges River at Varanasi, India

In India, more than any other place on earth, the natural and spiritual worlds conjoin. Air and light, trees and mountains, animals and fire are all worshiped as gods. But the most important natural deity for Hindus is the Ganges River, an embodiment of the Goddess Ganga. A water goddess, Ganga originally tended the gardens … Read more