Sarnath, Bodhgaya, Sanchi Stupa and Ajanta / Ellora ancient cave monasteries
(Slideshow with Soundscape)
Dear fellow practitioners,
Continuing along with the theme of sharing something a little more creative, I am delighted to be able to share something rather special on this occasion.
At the request of Ajahn Kevali, abbot of Wat Pah Nanachat, I recently helped in the arranging and co-leading of another Pilgrimage to a number of ancient Buddhist Holy Sites within the vast sub-continent of India. Ajahn Kevali had also specifically invited Tan Ajahn Anek, a senior disciple of Luang Por Chah to join in and spiritually lead the journey.
This Pilgrimage was different to previous ones led by me in several ways. In that we travelled even greater distances than normal by the means of internal flights and a train trip, and also in that we added the study of Buddhist stone sculpture at these ancient sites to our usual given focus (Tan Ajahn Anek is renowned for his own abilities as a sculptor of Buddha statues.) Another notable difference was that whereas I usually only allow a few photo's to be taken at each site before or after many hours of formal practices… on this occasion we were fortunate enough to have a very talented photographer with truly excellent equipment joining the entire journey to document it visually.
Kottapan Kaewsanga's photographs capture very beautifully many aspects of both the journey, the places and the experiences had there. Through taking many 'close-ups' as well as many landscape shots, Kottapans pictures give one a sense for the stunning contrast of exquisitely beautiful minute details appearing within a phenomenally vast space. And while there is a sense of communion with the experiences of our intimate group of Buddhist practitioners engaging in the practice of pilgrimage clearly conveyed in these pictures, at the same time we can glimpse the lives of many others who were at the same places at the same time, caught in stunning candid shots.
Khun Kottapan took about 8000 pictures in 12 days (!) From the 2000 he shared with me I have selected just 300. These are presented as a slideshow with each picture appearing for just 5 seconds.
It was a beautiful and somewhat 'epic' journey given the profound subjects we were studying, whilst recollecting the inspiring events which occurred in these places such a long long time ago, not to mention the sheer distances we were traveling. This long yet beautiful slideshow captures the epic nature of our inspired and inspiring journey. A selection of Ajahn Achalo and Christopher Conway's most recent 'Chants with soundscapes' collaboration plays automatically as the soundtrack for this 25 minute adventure.
I invite you now to join in our journey. May these photographs and chants with music be a source of inspiration and joy while reminding us all of the wonderful Refuge of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha that we share.
Ajahn Achalo Bhikkhu
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