Buddha is a title meaning "awakened one." When the title "Lord Buddha" or "The Buddha" is used, they mean the famous Siddartha Gautama. Sri Lanka is primarily a Buddhist country, although it has active Hindu, Islamic and Christian minorities as well, all living in close proximity and in peace.
Both Buddhists and Catholics appreciate the spiritual journey. So here is my little journey into a corner of Buddhism...
We took the seven am train. The boy in front of me kept poking his head out of the open train window the whole trip. He got a little too close for my comfort to the train coming in the opposite direction! The very young always want to know when they will arrive. "Are we there yet?" But a big part of the spiritual life is learning to love the Way as much as the end.
We arrived on time. A short walk and we were on the path to the great shrine at Kandy. We were joined by hundreds of other pilgrims as well.
Soon we were in line.
Lotus flowers and jasmine were for sale everywhere along the route.
Shoes off. This is holy ground!
There is a beautiful entrance way, befitting a holy place.
Now a flurry of activity as we are whisked by The Buddha's sacred tooth!
I did not see it!
It all happened so fast.
I glanced in the direction, but it was too late.
The line had to keep moving.
But,there was a beautiful Buddha hall afterward where we rested for a bit...
and monkeys all around the place...
and wonderfully aromatic camphor and incense...
and an elegant elder who lost her Way. Umesh and Isuru helped her in Sinhala....
Heading back. Holier for the journey together.
A NOTE ABOUT BUDDHISM
from The Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate 2, 1965.
Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination. ... The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.