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Lions Roar : January 2019
together, listening to nothing but our breathing and the cho- rus of birds calling from the branches above our heads. Later, I talk about our experience under the Bodhi tree with one of the non-Buddhist delegates, a journalist from Poland. Some- thing about it touched her so deeply, she says, that it brought tears to her eyes. It was like she could feel the collective energy of gen- eration after generation of people coming to this spot and finding stillness and quiet. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t a Buddhist. Shantum Seth, in addition to being a dharma teacher, is also a longtime leader of Buddhist pilgrimage tours with his company Buddhapath. Under the Bodhi tree, he says, people often find they have a deep sense of concentration and gratitude. “There are magical memories you can have,” he continues. “You’re sitting there meditating and then maybe a leaf falls onto your lap. You can take that leaf with you to your meditation space back home and put it on your alter to be reminded of this beautiful space where the Buddha—and you—practiced.” Siddhartha took his seat under the Bodhi tree on a full moon just before the rainy season. As our train of buses pulls away from Bod- hgaya, I understand a little more about what it must have been like for him. We were also there when the moon was a perfect circle. While I was sitting under the Bodhi tree, a few cooling raindrops fell on my back, and they felt like a gift. AFTER THE BUDDHA achieved enlightenment, he pondered how he could share his realizations with others. The truth he had realized was difficult to grasp and ran hard against the grain of human desires. Most people, the Buddha knew, Andrea Miller with Buddhist teacher and pilgrimage guide Shantum Seth in front of the Dhamek Stupa. It’s said that when the Buddha taught, the deer in Deer Park listened. LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2019 37