My husband and I have just returned from a marvelous month-long cruise which took us to various ports - beginning in Bangkok and finishing up in Dubai. Many times throughout our trip I had to literally pinch myself to ensure that I was truly ‘here.’ Most of the names of the cities that we visited had previously been only small red dots on a map....and there we
I imagine that it will take some time to integrate and to absorb the stories, the sights, the sounds and the smells that we came across. Sensory overload would be a huge understatement! My head feels like it is ready to explode, while physically I am feeling quite small. Our world is truly much larger than we think it is.
Favourite places? Thailand and India. The contrast of the rich living right next door to the poor, the immensity of the population, the tolerance of the people for different religions and for each other, and their proverbial patience - are all qualities that struck me most. For the most part I saw contentment with life, a prevailing sense of peace, and an easy pace (except on the roads in Mumbai!). But even then, with an overwhelming number of cars on the road (5,000 taxis alone in Mumbai), there was no anger and no hostility toward other drivers. Yes, one needed to be sharp and to creep into even the teensiest space to get anywhere close to one’s destination, but no frustration at all. In fact, live and let live seemed to be prevalent everywhere. Speaking of which.......
One of the religions of India is Jainism. This is the symbol of Jainism.
The symbol of a hand in the lower portion shows fearlessness and symbolizes the feeling of Ahimsa(non-violence) towards all the creatures in this world. The circle in the middle of the hand symbolizes Samasara (reincarnation cycle) and the 24 spokes represent the preachings from the 24 Tirthankars, which can be used to liberate a soul from the cycle of reincarnation.
The meaning of the mantra at the bottom Parasparopagraho Jivanam is "Live and Let Live", in short, all creatures should help one another. In short, the Jain emblem represents many important concepts to show the path to enlightenment by following the basic principles of Ahimsa (nonviolence), Triratna (right belief, right knowledge, and right conduct) and Parasparopagraho Jivanam (helping others). Followers of Jainism are seen walking through the streets dressed all in white and with bare feet.
Another lasting impression that I received in Thailand and India and in the United Arab Emirates was their absolute belief in their faith.
Temples and mosques abound! Truly everywhere! And beautiful they are. Adornments and gold everywhere. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam are all steeped in history and are rich in tradition. Oh, that we all had such a strong faith.
I shall finish off today one of the most valuable insights that I saw......the respect for elders of the family. Old age ‘warehouses’ do NOT abound in these particular areas of the world. Elders are taken in and cared for lovingly by the children. And given special place within the community. Oh, again. What have we come to in North America? We will all be ‘elders’ at some point (one hopes!)