Thailand, Embracing Nirvana - Finding your inner peace, serenity, and acceptance of all that is around you.
When I speak of Nirvana, I am not talking about the band from the 90’s whose songs you have heard so many times that you can hear them playing in your head at the mere mention of their name.
I am of course referring to the Buddhist definition of Nirvana which is, “The highest state of consciousness, in which the soul is freed from all desires, and attachments. It is a state of perfect peace, and happiness. It is a transcendent state in which one lets go of the sense of self, and achieves the release from the effects of karma, and the cycle of death, and rebirth putting an end to suffering. It is the end goal of Buddhism.”
The literal definition of Nirvana comes from Sanskrit, and means to blow out, such as extinguishing a flame. In Sanskrit, an ancient language dating back over 6000 years Nirvana is broken down into two parts. The first is Nir - out, and the second is vana - to blow.
There are three fires meant to be extinguished through Nirvana, they are, Attachment, Aversion, and ignorance. These are considered by Buddhists to be the cause of all suffering.
The attainment of Nirvana is thought to be nearly impossible, but I implore you to try. Simply embrace the very idea of Nirvana, and let it become you. Try this one, be still, focus your thoughts, and let Nirvana embrace you.
Bangkok, Thailand with the controlled chaos that envelops it is among the most unlikeliest of places to embrace Nirvana. Bangkok is a very large major metropolis visited by many people from all over the world creating a multi cultured diversity throughout the city.
The intricate multi-faceted system of public transportation including buses, taxis, motorcycle taxis, the sky train, subway, and even riverboat taxis make it simple to get around the city. You will find many people moving around going about their business in this crowded city. If you pause for a moment, and become aware of what is going on around you, you’ll see an interesting show.
You will be aware of locals traveling to work, or running errands completely at ease because of the comfortable routine of their travels. You will see tourists walking around looking at maps, and wandering around aimlessly looking like they are obviously lost, and unfamiliar with the city. This of course makes them appear vulnerable, and easy targets for the many scam artists who also make their way about the city. Street vendors can be found everywhere selling everything from souvenirs, to clothes, and even food, and drink. There are many hustlers, and pick pockets around as well, so be mindful of your belongings.
There is one more aspect that is integrated into the conformity of Bangkok. That is you. Once you are there you become part of the system, part of the mass of people moving about, each with their own consciousness, and agenda as they make their way to where they want, or need to be.
How will you react to this environment around you?
Does it intimidate you?
Does it increase your stress levels?
Do you love every minute of the atmosphere around you that is Bangkok?
I find myself peacefully, and contently making my way around Bangkok as I have so many times in the past becoming part of the crowd, part of the system, as I interact with those around me. Being calm, and at peace in this sometimes chaotic environment seems normal, and natural to me.
You will find Thai people are very friendly, and welcoming to visitors to their country. You must also be aware that there are people from all over the world there as well, some of whom have... Less than ideal demeanors.
Wondering around Bangkok you will notice stray dogs, some are laying down napping while others are begging for food from people walking by. Be aware as you are walking down the sidewalk as motor bikes constantly ride down them as well to avoid the constant gridlock traffic.
There will be spirit houses set up, and it is common for Thai people to wai (bow) before them, and even leave an offering of flowers, food, or drink to bring them good luck, or blessings upon their family.
Food vendors are plentiful on the sidewalks. Pad Thai cooked right in front of you on the streets of Bangkok is a must try. Many vendors selling fruits that you have never seen before are happy to offer a free sample for you to try. Sometimes you will find vendors selling fried insects as well, a delicacy I haven’t yet had the courage to try.
Go ahead, and try some Pad Thai on the streets of Bangkok as you watch the traffic jam unfold just a few feet away.
Take it all in, and Embrace Nirvana.