Early in the morning on the 13th of January, I saw in a dream the rainbow body of a female Buddha inside my heart chakra. Bodhgaya was one of the 24 mandalas of Chakrasambhara (the Great Pleasure Vajra), hence this was a sign of blessing for Tantric practices. Through the Grace of seeing the rainbow body I obtained definite understanding on such visualizations. To Tantric practitioners who are practicing the visualization of Yidams, I suggest the following methods to gain some insight into such practices: watch the rainbow as it appears in the sky, watch the rainbow created by a sprinkler in the sun, or watch the rainbow colors that sunlight reflects through a multifaceted crystal. After I returned to the United States I learned that during this period a Buddhist friend in U.S. had a vision of me with a golden Shakyamuni Buddha in my heart chakra emitting lights.
In the morning I did Yidam visualization and wind practices in front of the Vajra Seat. Then I happened to encounter an opening to the Vajra Seat court, so I went in to worship the Seat and the tree. The thought of having to leave here the following day brought forth a deep sense of attachment to this holy site. I offered two fruits and six candles in front of the Vajra Seat. Then I went to the other six spots where Buddha stayed for one week each, right after his Enlightenment, and offered one candle each and did circumambulations. Afterwards, I offered 400 butter lamps in front of the Vajra Seat. Beginning at 11 a.m. I circumambulated, once each, all the stupas on the temple compound. Under the trees, by the walls, between small stupas and inside the court of big stupas within the temple compound were practitioners who were diligently practicing chanting, recitation, prostration or meditation. There were monks, nuns, men and women, both elderly and young. Most of them were Tibetans and a few were young Westerners. I took a break at 12:40 p.m. and went back to the hotel for lunch and rest.
At 2 p.m. Professor Pryor led us to the Gelupa Monastery next door to have an interview with the abbot Tara Rinpoche. While waiting we saw the Tulku of Ling Rinpoche playing with a battery run toy car in the corridor. I went up to him, knelt down on my right knee, and offered him a khata and 50 rupees to establish a Dharma connection with him. He accepted my offerings; dexterously put the khata around my neck as a token of granting his favor, gave the 50-rupee bill to his child novice monk attendant, and then put his left palm on top of my head to give me his blessing. After the interview with Tara Rinpoche I offered him 100 rupees, and his Caucasian interpreter 50 rupees.
At 3:20 p.m. I went back to the Mahabodhi Temple to resume the circumambulation of stupas. I lit a whole package of incense and held it while I walked around the stupas, and at 4:40 p.m. I completed circumambulating each stupa on the compound. In the evening I went to the temple compound again and offered six candles and a package of incense. While I passed by the Vajra Seat court, I saw a group of pilgrims from Tai Chung, Taiwan conducting rituals. I went in and perfumed the court with the lit package of incense in my hand, then I worshiped the Seat and the tree. During my stay in Bodhgaya, I visited this court five times; each time I was allowed. Later I heard that some pilgrims got in by paying the gatekeeper, while others by climbing over the railing in the night.
On the morning of the 14th of January, I saw in a dream that I was burning newspapers and washing my hands with soap. I felt these were auspicious signs of eradicating some of my negative karmas. I also had dreams of converting sentient beings to Buddhism, which could be considered an omen. After previous days circumambulation of all the stupas on the temple compound, I felt the site of Enlightenment had become engraved in my mind. Hence, although we were leaving that day, I no longer felt a sense of departure. It became easy to understand the deep significance of some practitioners pilgrimage on foot with one prostration at every third step. If a pilgrimage were conducted like viewing flowers on horseback, it could deteriorate into tourism.
Later in the morning, I offered eighteen candles in front of the Vajra Seat, and entrusted 100 rupees to the Lama in charge of butter lamp offerings for lighting 200 butter lamps later on my behalf. I also offered him 20 rupees. At this site of Enlightenment I offered a total of 1,800 butter lamps to glorify the 18 unique merits of Buddha. I lit a package of incense and while holding it, circumambulated the temple compound for the last time. In Bodhgaya there were many monasteries, and a huge statue of Buddha had recently been constructed by some Japanese devotees. However, I omitted visits to these places of interest in order to concentrate on the Mahabodhi Temple where Shakyamuni attained Enlightenment.
Our bus went directly to Varanasi. At noon we stopped by the mausoleum of a Moghul King, Sher Shah. A Hindu teenager walked a small monkey on a leash. He let the monkey climb on my left shoulder and asked me to give the apple in my right hand to the monkey; as soon as I handed him the apple the monkey started biting into it. Seeing this, the audience, adults and children alike, burst into laughter.
That night we stayed in the Hotel de Paris. At dinner, Professor Pryor revealed to us that the following day the Dalai Lama would visit the temple of the Mahabodhi Society at Sarnath to attend a congratulatory ceremony cerebrating his receiving the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. He went on to say that the abbot of Mahabodhi Society at Bodhgaya had given us his invitation letter to the ceremony; hence, our group would be able to attend. I announced to our group that I had a dream two years ago that I would meet the Dalai Lama during my pilgrimage. I felt this was an omen. Now that it was about to come true, totally unexpectedly, everyone was amazed at such a mystic wonder.
It was possible to phone the U.S. from this hotel. Connections were via a satellite antenna in Calcutta, hence, calls had to be requested two hours in advance. I placed a call home for 8 p.m. and got through at 8:40 p.m. Our voices through the receiver were weak and mixed with noises, therefore, we decided to cut our conversation short after only a few exchanges of reports on our well being. The cost for three minutes was 300 rupees, about the equivalent of 15 U.S. dollars. After the phone conversation I wrote a poem in Chinese; the following is its English version:
Homesick across the ocean met poor transmission;
Three hundred rupees for three minute unification;
Thousand words were ready to pour, but
only "How are you?" got its realization!