(1) Why don't I want to go to India, why must I still go to India, that is the question.

India Buddhist Columns & Dharma Talks

*The following is a table of contents for the current series of articles. It is updated as needed.

1.Why I don't want to go to India, why I still have to go to India, that is the question!
2.To Haridwar, a holy place on the upper Ganges
3.Experience Haridwar Prayer Ritual Puja
4.Why don't Indians care if the holy Ganges River is dirty?
5.Mansa Devi Temple in Haridwar feels like a theme park of the gods
6.The day I became convinced that Buddhism would never spread in India
7.To Rishikesh, the holy land of yoga
8.The baptism of India finally arrived. Down with severe vomiting and diarrhea
9.Kentucky in India is spicy! I don't like spicy food, but India was spice hell for me.
10.The last day of the event, the driver of the car accident that happened right in front of me took me by surprise.
11.Why am I, a Buddhist monk, learning about Hinduism?
12.Beginning of the Second India-Sri Lanka Expedition
13.The "gentile's eye" makes the trip interesting. I tried to be thoroughly gentile in India...
14.Visit to the World Heritage Site of Khajuraho - Thinking about Sex and Religion
15.India's Shiva Linga Beliefs: The Hindu View of Sexuality, where Phallic Beliefs are Still Venerated
16.Why have the Buddhist sites in India been buried in the ground and forgotten?
17.Visit the Great Stupa of Saanchi, a World Heritage Site
18.Impressed by the huge statue of Shiva at the Elephanta Grottoes off the coast of Mumbai!
19.40% of the population are slum dwellers⁉Mumbai's skyscrapers and slums
20.Visit to Dhoby Ghat, Mumbai's Giant Laundry - The tour of the sacred sites of "Slaughterhouse" finally comes to an end.
21.The Buddha statue at the Ellora Cave Temple was such a shock that my whole body was electrified!
22.The Kailasanatha Temple in Ellora is astonishing! What is the marvelous sculpture architecture that took 100 years to carve out of the rocky hill!
23.Enjoy the masterpieces of Indian Buddhist painting at the Ajanta Grottoes!
24.We will visit Sri Lanka, a Buddhist country, and spend three weeks touring the sacred sites of Buddhism!
25.How is the climate in Sri Lanka? A thought on the relationship between climate and religion.
26.Sasserwa Big Buddha and Awkana Big Buddha - Visit the masterpieces of Sri Lanka's Big Buddha that few people know about.

(1) Why I don't want to go to India, and why I still have to go to India, that is the question.

The journey finally begins. It is India. It is that India.

I had been suffering from a sore throat for two days prior to my departure, and I was afraid that I would not be able to return home safely. I made the mistake of neglecting it, thinking it would be no big deal. I took care of it in a hurry, but it was already too late.

I am weak. I am always like this. This is especially true when there is a big event that puts pressure on me. This time it was my throat, but most of them are usually gastrointestinal problems. And the variations are endless.

In other words, this time India was another "unwilling horror" for me. Let me say it more clearly. I don't want to go to India. It is a symptom.

What's so frightening about India?

It was obvious. There was no way that I, a sickly man, would be able to withstand the intense hygienic conditions that India is notorious for!

And that's not all. I have seen the chaos of India in various media, including books and television. And if I were to actually experience it there, the probability of me suffering culture shock would be extremely high. I can already see that I would fall ill.

I have a track record of being so anxious, you might think, but I've been to Cuba in 2019, where I fell asleep with a headache from the overly cheerful local host family; to Armenia in 2022, where the old Soviet-style stagnation drove me to the point of being incapable of action due to diarrhea; and to the United States, where I was forced to leave the country in 2022, where I was forced to leave the country in 2022, where I was forced to leave the United States in 2022 due to diarrhea. In Armenia in 2022, he was driven to the brink of diarrhea by the former Soviet-style stagnation.

But still, I must go to India. I must see India. I cannot avoid this place in order to learn Buddhism. I want to experience India, the birthplace of Buddhism, with my whole body.

Thus, I began to plan my trip, knowing that if I went, I would surely get sick.

I would like to mention here in advance that my trip to India was originally supposed to consist of two trips: one to central India and Sri Lanka in November, and the other to the Buddhist sites in India in February. However, around the middle of April, I suddenly decided to add a visit to Haridwar and Rishikesh in northern India to my itinerary. The reason why I suddenly decided to visit India in late August was because I wanted to see the rainy season in India. I am the author of Hiroshi Yamashita'sThe Ideas of Ancient India: Nature, Civilization, and Religion.I was numb to the following passage from It is a bit long, but I would like to quote it here.

In the Indian summer, the scorching sunlight and dryness cause most of the vegetation to wither and die, leaving all living things breathless. The saturation point of the atmosphere covering the overheated earth's surface is abnormally high, and when clouds do appear, they are far above the ground and do not bring a drop of blessing to the land.

In India, where the Tropic of Cancer runs through the center of the country, the sun shines almost directly overhead as the dry season comes to an end in May, and most of the trees have lost their leaves, leaving little shade even under the trees. Temperatures exceed 40 degrees Celsius even in the shade, and reach around 50 degrees Celsius inland. The outside temperature is much higher than the body temperature, and the breeze changes from a cool breeze to a hot breeze. Even at night, the room temperature does not drop, making it difficult to sleep through the night.

While enduring the harsh natural conditions of the dry season, ordained priests had to devote themselves to daily ascetic practices. (omitted).

However, among the seasonal changes on the Indian subcontinent, it was the rainy season, rather than the scorching hot season, that had the greatest impact on the daily lives of itinerant travelers. The rainy season, which lasted three to four months, had a major impact on their itinerant lifestyle. It made it difficult for them to move around, which interfered with their way of life of living in a single place. Almsgiving also became difficult. In addition, because the rains came after the long dry season, when all life had dried up, small insects and other creatures would overflow onto the ground and suddenly gain momentum, threatening to be crushed by the yugyoji.

Even we in Japan have difficulty walking on sidewalks in spring and summer without stepping on ants. After the rains, earthworms and goji-geji crawl all over the streets. In India during the rainy season, the ground is teeming with creatures. Once the rains begin, the dusty landscape turns green in a matter of days, transforming it into a world teeming with life. This is the "explosion of life" that follows the "explosion of the monsoon.

The arrival of the rainy season must have been a serious situation for Buddhist practitioners, for whom the Buddhist precept of non-lethal killing is one of the most important precepts. Moreover, mosquitoes and other infectious diseases spread during this season. In response to this situation, Buddhist practitioners began to suspend their ascetic life only during the rainy season and allowed themselves to retreat to a certain place. This is called varsika in the original language (a derivative of "varsha," meaning rain), or in Chinese translation, "place where one can rest or relax while walking around in the rainunsupported word"summer retreat where monks stay in the same place to studysummer retreat where monks stay in the same place to study" or simply "easy lifevarsika (meditation retreat; usu. for 90 days starting on the 15th day after a person's death)It is called "the It is still observed in Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, and in Japanese Buddhism, "nine gates (mahjong)simple anguishIt is also the origin of the term and institution of the "90-day abode" (90-day abode).

Chikuma Shobo, Hiroshi Yamashita, The Ideas of Ancient India: Nature, Civilization, and Religion, P215-217

The intense dry and rainy seasons have too great an impact on ordained practitioners in India.

And above all, the story told hereAn Explosion of Life."Oh my god!!!

I was completely taken by these words. This "explosion of life" must have tremendous significance when considering Indian religions! We should not underestimate the unique climate of the land. The same is true in Japan. Japan has four distinct seasons. How great an influence do these seasonal changes have on our thought, culture, and national character? Climate and geo-climate are often underestimated, but there is no doubt that they are important components in our thought system.

So I decided to travel to India during the rainy season to see this "explosion of life" in India.

And there is another major role for this August trip.

That is what the India visit was about.

You may think that "inspection" is an exaggeration, but for me, it is serious, even very serious.

As I mentioned earlier, the main focus of my India trip will be on central India and Sri Lanka in November and the Buddhist sites in February. These two will be of critical importance to me. Not even a single day can be wasted. Moreover, the itinerary is very tight and hard. If I fall ill during the trip, everything will go up in smoke. I absolutely cannot collapse.

It is too reckless to face such a last-minute schedule with a single shot! I am weak! Will I be able to successfully complete the itinerary in India? No, such a gamble is not for me. ・・・・

Therefore, we planned a short visit to India, including a survey of the Indian climate, atmosphere, and food situation. I thought that if I could familiarize myself with India here, I would be in a position to take on the next challenge in India. I thought I would be in perfect condition to take on the challenge.

As a result, this India visit was too important for me. There is no doubt that without this experience, my later visit to India would have been disastrous.

However, those of you with good sense may have already noticed this.

So. I had a bad experience in my first trip to India, as I had expected. I will tell you how it happened later, but this is how I left for India.

Next Article.

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