Posts Tagged ‘religion’
BY CARRIE SIMMONS
In the Hindu religion, Ganesha, an elephant-headed figure, is the deity of wisdom and intellect among other things. Later adopted by Buddhism, Ganesha is said to reside in the first chakra, or energy center of the body, and is revered as the guiding force of all other chakras. The chakras make up the Wheel of Life – an ancient symbol that symbolizes the Buddhist teachings on the human condition. The Buddhist yogic philosophy of living is on the rise in the United States and oftentimes integrated into the medical field through visualization and meditation for healing. It is with elephants and Buddhism in mind that I embark on a fact-finding mission to Thailand to discover the healing powers of Eastern philosophy through the mind, body and soul.
Buddhism first arrived in Thailand hundreds of years ago and according to the 2000 census, almost 95 percent of Thailand’s population still practices Buddhism. With an elaborate set of principles and a long history of practice, Buddhism is sure to challenge my Western mind. I began by visiting some of Bangkok’s infamous golden temples. They weren’t hard to find, just follow the line of saffron robes to the gold spires punctuating the clear azure skies. My first stop was Wat Pho, where hundreds of gold Buddha statues sit in meditation. One particular statue attracts the masses to this temple – measuring almost 150 feet long, Phra Buddhasaiyas, the reclining Buddha, lounges in a colorful temple resting his gilded-gold body and kicking up those mother-of-pearl inlaid feet. In the center of the temple complex, I was able to witness Buddhism in action. Monks gathered for their midday prayers and one could hear a low, reverberating hum wafting down the vibrant halls.