The Two Pagodas

As noted in the previous post, rainy season keeps the excess of tourists away, especially in the mountains. What a relief! Last time I was here, all I could think about was how crowded it was, especially at the Royal Pagodas, which are the biggest draw for tourists. Now, I can actually go in and meditate. How wonderful, to be able to use these beautiful temples for a real spiritual experience!

And the reason people stay away? They think the clouds spoil the view. True at the summit, where one would like to look westward, but rain and clouds rule everything. But here, just a bit lower, we are just below the cloud layer, gazing at the lovely green valley far below, and the kiss of the Cloud Goddess above. In the hot season, this view was spoiled by smoke from burning fields.

viewview:clouds

On the King’s side, the Buddha is austere. Very refreshing from the multiplicity of icons and excess of gold leaf at most temples. Conceptually, this is pure Buddha–note the symmetry of the ceiling design, with no frills or earthly attachments.

The queen’s pagoda, on the adjoining hill, is surrounded by flower gardens. The central image is of Kuan Im, the “goddess” of compassion. Here, many scenes of earthly life, where the love of all sentient beings is in evidence. I am once again deeply moved by the power of compassion that reverberates in this lovely temple.

Outside, I admire the complementary nature of the two towers. Looking at the King’s pagoda from the garden, I spot the saffron robes of monks. I wonder, what do monks do when they go to a royal pagoda? Apparently, take pictures, just like any other tourists.

 

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