The next morning I slept through the 6am puja held at my monastery’s temple. I deserved the extra rest. I also deserved to sit under the Bodhi Tree, alone, for a few minutes of quiet meditation! I made my way to the temple complex around 7am, sat on a stone bench under the tree behind the temple, closed my eyes, and did a short breathing meditation.
After breakfast, I kept myself occupied with reading, writing and music under the ceiling fan in my room.
Around 2pm, I decided to walk the two blocks to see the 25m-high Great Buddha Statue unveiled by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1989. As you get closer to it, you have to remove your shoes. I slipped off my flip-flops to the painful realization that the stone (perhaps marble) path was VERY hot. As I approached the statue, I thought about the walk as mind over matter. Once in the statue’s shade, I took a few photos, and headed back. This time, my feet felt like they were on fire, especially on the last few steps over a black section of the path. Hoping for relief, I put on my flip-flops, though in those few minutes, they too had become painfully hot. I was left with no alternative but to douse my feet with mineral water to cool them off.
A few hours later, I headed back to the Mahabodi Temple for one last visit. Near the entrance, I ran into Ramesh, and then a Bollywood movie shoot in full swing. A well-quaffed actor was on a motorcycle while a pretty Indian actress in orange was to be riding in a bicycle rickshaw. The production assistants wielded field hockey sticks to help with crowd control.
After a quick walk through the temple grounds, I invited Ramesh to dinner with me. While I found his presence overbearing at times, he clearly seemed interested in hanging out and helping me, without anything in return (except maybe a new watch or camera if I were to return some day).