I wonder if people could recognize me if all they saw was my hands?

By December 19, 20102010, Asia
[- This was my last journal entry from the trip, although edited slightly and I thought it was fitting to share it in parting. I hope you have enjoyed our updates thus far, and that some of our “imperfect words” will have stirred you in some small way -]

The Sukhothai part of the trip was terririce. The ruins are so impressive, and one cannot help but wonder about the poeple who inhabited it and what they and their lives were like. We saw the hundreds of spiders that build their webs deep in the porous stones, towering stupas shaped like lotus buds, and some really awesome trees (yes, i climbed them – this is me we’re talking about). My goal is to have my backflip functional by Europe. That way, I’ll be able to flip off of all the most important monuments.

One of the very coolest things I’ve seen on the trip was a wat containing the Speaking Buddha. The story goes that a prince resisted the Burmese occupation of his city by hiding in the temple and climbing behind the massive statue, and tricking them. He shouted threats and warnings from behind the statue, in Burmese, while he had learned after being captured and enslaved when he was younger. We went inside and I could see that the whole building was designed for a voice to resonate, especially if it came from the area behind the head of the Buddha. Quite interesting.
Our guide told us that there are 38 points of difference between the human form and the Buddha, thereby making each statue into a representation of the Buddha as “a being unlike any other”. This is done to balance the feminine and masculine characteristics, and set him apart as special and unique amongst all religious figures. Personally, I find great comfort in the knowledge that Jesus was very much a human. Identifying with our savior is a powerful idea. Furthermore, I think the Christ figure is the most intriguing, complex, and revolutionary ¬†figure ever, in any history or religion. Of course, this is because of my bias, which is finding my whole life and faith rooted in that person, but I still think it’s true. I want to know more of what he looks like. You know? I bet his hands were amazing to look at, strong and tanned. Jesus probably had wonderfully human hands. And so will I be, as part of his body – Fearfully and wonderfully human. And so is his desire for all people, to be alive, from Bangkok to Calgary, Kelowna to Manila, Chiang Mai to St. Stephen.

So be alive my friends.

Until Next Time,
Nygel

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