Sunday, July 10, 2011
what my eyes struggled to understand
I have been struggling for days with how to describe what I saw and felt upon entering the great shrine room of Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery in Namo Buddha. As I passed from filtered sunlight into dark, my eyes first became aware of red— a burning, cadmium red that I could feel throbbing against my retinas. After the red came the gold, then the blue, then the pink in waves, each more powerful than the previous colour. My heart was thunderous— I could not control the gasp that escaped my lips. I placed my hands on my chest, for fear this mad, thumping little organ might escape its cage.
I prostrated three times at the door as I was taught. Palms together, fingers to the sky, I raised my hands to my forehead, lowering them to my chin, to my chest, then bending down to touch the cool floor with my forehead. Pure body, pure speech, pure mind.
As I looked around me, my eyes fought hard to understand what they were seeing. I felt hot tears welling up; the beauty of it all extending to some place deep inside me, shaking me, moving me. I cried when I stood before Van Gogh's Wheatfield with Crows. I cried when I caught that first glimpse of the Himalaya, peeking from behind the clouds. I cried before the Buddha.
That night, I dreamt I was in the shrine room again, prostrating over and over, and over again.
I was crying in my sleep.