Travel diaries: Falling In Love With Buddhism

Context

Before I head on to my much interesting story, let me get in clear with some context . It was back in the rural village of Chozo, Khecheopalri, Sikkim, on March 23rd,2016. And it was the day of one of the most pristine ceremonies of the Buddhist people, Bomchu. The ceremony is about sharing and celebrating the books and the knowledge of Lord Buddha’s teachings. Buddhist monks, carry those books on their head, take a walk in the streets and us, the commoners are meant to take blessings from them. But something pretty unique happened that day, which makes this story very special.

A monastery in Chozo

The Planning

On March 22nd, me and my family, and my fellow hitch hiker friends Georgy Andreev and Svenja Anina Ohlen ( from Russia and Germany respectively ) were told about the ceremony and to take the Monks blessings by our local host Latup. We were a bit shocked, as we’re Hindu, and they both are Christian, and we all thought we might somehow offend their culture. But to our much surprise, our host told us not to worry and to be ready for tomorrow.

Me and Georgy

The Harmony

So on the next morning we dressed up, took our camera and headed on to our nearest monastery. We had never seen a Buddhist ceremony in our lives, and our host repeatedly telling us how even touching those books is considered lucky made us even more excited. We reached the monastery, only to be realized that we were the only non-local people standing there. We became extremely uncomfortable, as we were too scared not to do anything that offends the locals and the enlightened Monks. An elderly Monk saw us, and quickly understood what we felt inside. He called us, and along with other monks, handed over one of their pious books to each one of us and asked nicely to crowd in the crowd of the monks and bless every people we meet in the road!

That elderly Monk, who has recently died. RIP.
Me, after getting the book in hand, smiling wide โ™ฅ๏ธ

The enlightened monks

Being Part of the Pristine Ceremony

We not only touched those sacred books, but literally carried them on our heads, blessing others. The tourists, jaw dropped, stopped by us to witness this wonderful harmony, clicking pictures and videos all along. We went on blessing every locals and tourists on the streets, and the welcoming gesture of the locals made things beyond beautiful for us. They were simply overjoyed, and were all gathered to see a Russian dude, a German girl and a Hindu Brahmin family to carry their sacred books along with the enlightened Monks. The monks loved their reaction too, as we marched on and on, and with every step we reached closer to Buddha.

Me and our host, Latup

Conclusion

We live in a world, where being selfish is called being practical, and being unkind is street smart. The Monks, or the villagers could’ve easily shooed us away, carrying on with their thousand years old nominal legacy. But when I look back, I realize that by welcoming us with such an wondrous gesture, they did actually carried the legacy of Lord Buddha’s teachings, spreading child like happiness for a day all over Chozo ๐Ÿ™‚โ™ฅ๏ธ

Georgy, Svenja, my family and me together
That monastery

Baby ๐Ÿ˜

Villagers along with Latup

The walk in the street
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37 thoughts on “Travel diaries: Falling In Love With Buddhism

  1. Great experience. I have had similar experiences in Nepal, as an Englishman who married a Nepali I was welcomed into family, caste, and Buddhism. I have had 50 years of such welcome and generosity. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kindness and acceptance. What a lovely post. Many years ago I stayed in a Buddhist monastery in Western China. I was there with a group of botanists and we were looking at plants on a holy mountain near the monastery. The monks were so welcoming to us.It is a happy memory for me. Thanks for this post it took me back to that time.

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  3. beautiful story. and beautiful pics as well. i wish we had a similar ceremony like your Bomchu here in my country. but since there is none, i will try to spread God’s kindness in other Bomchu-ish ways. Thank you for the great experience, Soumyadeb!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lovely story. I have had lots of contact with Buddhists and Buddhism in S.E. Asia and have always felt blessed that they accepted me so easily. I hope you got some benefit from your contact with the monks, I am sure I always did although being a ‘mere female’ I had to stand well apart from them, my husband being the one to hold any sacred icon or medal and me only allowed to touch him! Who cares. The Lord Buddha looks after us all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Actually, not touching someone from another gender is also a part of monk/nun hood. You can’t even take things directly from people of other sex. It’s somehow strange but very well happens. I was also barred from entering inside a nun’s monastery.
      Anyways, Buddhism in S E Asia like Myanmar or Thailand is a bit different from Buddhism in Tibet. You should visit Sikkim/Bhutan for that experience too!

      Liked by 1 person

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