I enter the temple-monastery and sit on the cool floor. I breathe in the quiet for a while, gazing at the Buddha, the way his right hand is encased in his left hand in a Yoga Mudra, his thumbs pointing up. Why are his hands open, I wonder.

in but a palm

The ancient walls are embellished with colorful murals and paintings of the Jataka Tales, and stories of many other Gods and Goddesses I don’t recognize. And at a lower level, scenes from the day-to-day lives of common men. I also notice several golden lines radiating out from the edges of the entrance, branching several times, interweaving between the images to form a golden maze. Then I notice a blissful monk sitting in the corner.

prayer wheel
with each turn
a new smile

I go over and sit with the monk. “I wish to know the secret of your joy and serenity,” I say. In reply, he opens my clenched fist, presses something into my palm and closes my fingers over it. Then he gets up and leaves. I open my hand to see what he has given me. My hand is empty.

With a smile, I get up and head towards the door leading out of the room and its gilded walls and images.

Mt. Everest
wondering what lies