Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Part VI - Everyday Buddhism

We arrived in UlaanBaatar early Sunday morning. We walked through mostly empty streets towards a buddhist monestary. We saw monks, old and young, reciting their sutras and being all monklike. The morning prayers moved us, but not as much as the gesture we witnessed after exiting this holy place.

As we were walking away from this place of worship, in a zenlike state, we saw many "wild dogs" walking and meeting along the sidewalks. We both agreed that we were torn between feelings of warmth at seeing these dogs happy and completely free and feelings of sadness at seeing them wimpering and hungry. However, nothing prepared us for the sight of a dog lying on a sidewalk who had not made the night. As we were contemplating this dog's short, but free life, a few people walked by the dog without blinking an eye.

Then, it happened. Out of the corner of our eyes, we spied a robed monk briefly stop by the lying dog. As buddhists cherish all life, big and small, he proceeded to pick up some sand from the sidewalk, recite a prayer and sprinkle the sand as a sign of respect for our fallen little friend.

He then went on his way, without looking back as this was not a show: such is his faith.