The Ultimate Peace
Walking to the pier and a few quick walks after boarding off the boat was our after-meal exercise. As a reward, we made our way to the Grand Palace before the ticket counter was closed (at three thirty in the afternoon). To be more precise, the Emerald Buddha was the primary purpose of our visit. “If your time is enough for seeing only one place in Bangkok, then this should be it”, said Peach.
I felt the weight of her choice instantly after I entered Wat Phra Kaew. It is a place where everything else would retreat into the backdrop to reveal the beating of your heart. And a subtle yet sacred force would lead it to beating at the same rhythm set by the blessings of the Buddha. In front of the Buddha are various yaksha (mythical giants) as his protection, highlighting even more how special he is. Corresponding with the three seasons in Thailand (winter, summer and monsoon), the Emerald Buddha has three pieces of clothes which only the king (and recently the crowned prince) is qualified to change at the beginning of each season. Residing in the place of royal family, rather than in regular temples of monks and nuns, is just another testimony of his significance. Starting from the left side, wall painting on three sides recounted elaborately how Buddhism was introduced into the country.
So here I am, with my heart beat as the only sound in the universe. I thought about prayers for my hospitalized grandma and nothing else. The feeling of being carefree once again filled my heart after being long lost. It is not that those “matters of consequence” I kept worrying about stopped existing. No, they are still there and, alas, so many of them in these years. Yet the moment with the Emerald Buddha, with the ultimate and profound silence and solitude, helps reveal what really matters in life. As put nicely and wisely by the fox in Le Petit Prince, what is essential is invisible to the eyes. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
It was a shame that I didn’t remember when the last time was that I looked into my heart. Yet for however careless and insensitive a person I had become, I felt forgiven by the Emerald Buddha who seemed to be saying: it is okay now that you have resumed your journey.
“Now, welcome to Bangkok.” Peach whispered towards the end of this personal ritual of mine.
Purified by this supreme love and support in Bangkok, I felt ready for my next stop: Dhamma Canda Pabhāin, or “The Glowing Moon of Dhamma”, in Chantaburi.