While we sat under the tree, people around us stood around and chatted, workmen carried on carrying loads of stone up from the fields and dropping them to the ground. I suppose they must see groups of pilgrims doing the same thing almost every day. I didn’t feel they were happy to have us there, -perhaps understandably. –The area seemed to be very poor, and seeing foreigner nationals who have time and money to sit around under trees for a religion that doesn’t have any significance for the local people may be unlikely to create good feeling. As we came down the hill I started to thaw my straight-ahead stare and chat to some of the boys who were following us. They’d been to school in the morning but were free in the afternoon. They started teaching me some Hindi phrases, although I have a feeling they might have actually been really rude as I don’t think ‘how are you?’ or ‘what is your name?’ would have made them laugh as much as they did! Anyway it was nice to have some friendly contact.
We got on the bus and went to the next Bodhi tree, which was where the Buddha had been given the milk rice by Sujata and he had taken his bowl to the river and vowed to continue on his path to enlightenment if the bowl floated upstream, which of course it did. The tree is now at the edge of a road and the river is dry, and was described by the monk who was travelling with us as ‘India’s biggest toilet’. We sat around the tree and did dome chanting. Then Luangpoh Sudhiro instructed us to do ‘adhitthana meditation’ as this was where the Buddha had made his adhitthana to become enlightened. I’m not sure if it’s bad luck to tell people your adhitthanas, like it is for birthday candle wishes, but I’ll risk it and say that mine was to be happy every day. It was my birthday earlier in the trip and Luangpoh Sudhiro had said ‘happy birthday, - happy every day’ which seemed like the best adhitthana I could think of.