A Dream With Gautama

by Lars Wagoner / Sep 23, 2014 /
Lars Wagoner's picture

I am in the middle of a dirt road, that’s all I know. There are many people walking around a busy market in the middle of a plaza that is covered in dirt and sand. Seeing no other options, I walk along the dusty path toward the crowd. Distressed, I look at the signs and listen to the strange and unfamiliar dialect of the locals. How did I get here? Where am I?

I feel small and insignificant compared to all of the vendors and customers because I am in an unknown place. I’m worried about my situation – I don’t know where I am, or why I am here. As I pace around the square, I see a young man meditating in one of the side streets… he seems peaceful, but right now I don’t trust anyone. Not wanting to disturb him, I walk past the dirty alley in which the meditator sits.

"Are you okay? You look troubled, my friend."

Startled, I turn and notice the man is speaking to me; relieved I can understand something, I reply, "Who are you?"

Ignoring my question, he reaches into a nearby pot and scoops some rice into a bowl that he had in his bag. Then, he offers the bowl of steamed white rice to me; I didn’t realize I was hungry until he handed me food, so I graciously accept.

 

From A Dream With Gautama

Photo courtesy neonow, on Flickr cc

 

At first we eat in silence, but about halfway through my rice, he introduces himself: "My name is Gautama."

"Nice to meet you, I’m Lars. Where are we?" I ask.

"This place is known as Kapilavastu, in Nepal. I assume you don’t live here."

"No, I don’t," I reply, "I don't even recall coming here! Could you help me?"

He seems to consider his options and ultimately decides to provide me with hospitality.

 

He lives in a very simple home: only one room with a handmade rug in the center and a few orange robes hanging on the wall, but strangely, no bed. I stay there a few nights and he teaches me that ‘you’ is different from ‘your brain.’ The brain must be tended to just as much as the body. During this time, I learn how to relax my body and clear my thoughts, that possessions aren't necessary to have a happy and peaceful life, and he teaches me to let go of certain stressful things in life.   

One day, he takes me away from the city to an unfamiliar place. It is a big building with golden accents along the walls; the ground is concrete. I see dozens of men, ranging from young to old, tall to short. They are sitting on rugs, similar to the one in Gautama’s house, meditating. The subtle hum (produced to help relax) of the men in orange robes is soothing and relaxing. Gautama and I walk in front of all of the men in the room, toward a big, silver gong. Gautama lifts the small hammer and gently hits the gong. A deep sound fills the area; everyone pays attention to Gautama.

"My fellow monks, I have disturbed your practice to bring you Lars. He has been staying with me for a while and I think he would be a perfect monk!"

 

From A Dream With Gautama

Photo courtesy Brian K, on Flickr cc

 

Monk?!? Me? I can’t be a monk. I have a family, friends, and I don’t even live here! How can I tell him without sounding rude?

"Umm… excuse me, Gautama," I whisper. "I can’t be a monk."

"Why not?” he asks with concern."

"Because I have a home, family and friends, and I want to go back there.”

"Whatever you desire…” Gautama says with a hint of slight disappointment, "… when you go, teach your friends to be at peace with their minds and if they question you, that The Buddha taught you and that you were asked by him to teach others,”"he states calmly. "You’re Buddh-”…but before he could finish, everything goes dark.

 

From A Dream With Gautama

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha by Priya Saihgal, on Flickr cc

 

I open my eyes, a blank wall - no, ceiling - is above me. I look around and begin to recognize the room… it’s my bedroom! Was that a dream? It couldn't be, it was way too vivid. Maybe I was lucid dreaming. Yeah, that makes sense: the sudden appearance, the time passing quickly, and then the waking up.

I stare at my watch, it’s 10 a.m. As the smell of bacon and eggs enters the room, I think to myself: I met Buddha… Best. Dream. Ever.

 

 

 

 

Lars Wagoner is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program