Light and dark

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The wall is dividng the safe place I stand on from the air – is dividing me from free falling over the edge.  It also divides the fort from the ocean. And somwhere at the horizon, the ocean is divided from the sky. It is still a sharp division – even when from where I stand it all looks blurred. But backt to what is here right in front of me. The thick stone walls, heated up by the sun, are part of the Galle Fort (Sri Lanka). This massive big walls go down a long way into the Indian Ocean. And they must have seen a lot in their past. The Galle Fort was built 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. The last harsh time these old walls had to endure was the 2004 tsunami.  Imagine what all they would tell us, if these walls could talk! Imagine the number of ships these walls must have seen, standing with their feet in the water all day, every day since 427 years.

Today the fort is a place where young couples hang around, a place to go for a run, to sit around with your friends, and just to be and let your soul fly over the waves. If you stand at the point where this photos where taken, you see the Indian Ocean right in front of you and the noisy town down on your right. You hear the crushing of the waves louder than the honking sounds from the bustling town. It is indeed a relaxing place and you long to just sit there and enjoy the moment. But then you have this camera in your hand and some young men start feeding these crows. And to make the situation even better: This all happens at time for sunset.
The crows fly right over the edge of the steep massiv walls. Since there is kind of an inlet in the wall the wind blows in a unsteady way, seducing the birds to do some real aristic stuff.  Of corse the young men feeding the birds by throwing small pieces of bread into the air help to make the art of flying perfect to me and my camera.

The silouette of the dark crows showing off their skills in front of this sky, so wonderfully beautiful, does not let any photographer relax. It was just stunnig to watch and made me click one more and one more and one more…

To watch this happening is kind of like meditating with your camera. It is half light and half dark in a ever-changing way. And nothing else for a few mintues. Half light and half dark – that’s all what you need in this exact moment.

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“When the Sun of compassion arises darkness evaporates and the singing birds come from nowhere.”
Amit Ray, Author & Yogamaster

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Half and Half.”

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With love

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A white Buddha overlooking an amazing and calm landscape – it feels like this place became that calm because of this statue sitting there in grace on top of the mountain and in never ending love. Or did Buddha come to sit down here, because of the place was that calm and beautiful?
The lotus is a symbol for overcoming hate, jealousy and all negative feelings that are around, rise above them all and then shine like a lotus flower. And I guess we all have times where our very personal lotus flower is blooming more or less … but the good thing is: Flowers start blooming again once they faded. So never stop trying. 😉

These two pictures are Symbols to a religion, who is itself a symbol of peace and loving kindness to me.
Peace and love – this should actually be the only symbols ever a religion has – nothing more or less.

But religions are being used to spread manmade philosophies, hate and power.
All the religions – and yes also Buddhism (there are buddhist monks walking around with guns under their robes, taking the money they get from donnations to build their own house, and showing off their ivory collection…all of this experienced in Sri Lanka, and this is only scratching at the surface).

Perhaps we should just let go off all the religious symbols – not pray to something manmade, not offer things that we paied for, not behave in a certain way that we think God would want us to behave. If these Gods are so great as the preachers, monks and holy books tell us, do you really think they need us tiny little beeings worhsiping them? Telling them how great they are and that only his path is the right one to follow? Woud this Gods not just have made us in a way that all we do is worshipping them, if the need it so bady – I mean at least they created us, so they should also have the power to make us the most perfect. Right?
But wait a second. Did all these Gods gave us brains to think, when we only should follow what they say? Really?

According to me religion should simply be love and understanding and the world would be a better place. And not all this human made crap symbols we should belive in according to whoever thinks he or she is better than us.
Call me a dreamer. A sinner. A lover.
I am all and nothing. And so are you.

But having said all that: I love visiting Buddhist tempels, looking at all the symbolic things you can find there and listining to the soothing chants of the monks.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Symbol.”

Dark red

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You open the door of the airport cab and boom! The heat, the screaming voices, the chaotic horns, the smile of the vendor already asking you if you buy one of his wonderful hand drums even before you set one foot onto the ground. All this and much more is right there, the first second you arrive in India and you know exactly why you are back. Because it is what it is. And it is a lot. India is hundreds of thousands of things. There are smiles and stares. There are bustling and shouting human beings running through narrow streets, where cows stand in grace and silence, simply taking their time to ruminate. They are holi but what’s in their stomach is most probably evil. Beside the trucks blowing their horns, there is the frail tintinnabulation of a prayer bell. When you step out of the tempel your nose is filled with the fragrances of flowers and incense sticks and just one second later the stinky garbage at the roadside is there to hunt the fragrances away. The chai is as sweet as some laws are sour.
Everything seems to have two extremes but the colors. Bright colors everywhere. Shining happy fabrics. Blue houses. Red Hair. Pink flowers. Yellow bangles. Purple Saris. Orange turbans. Strong. Dark. Firm. Solid. Colors. Everywhere.
If ever one has to find a transcription for India, a little jar of dark red powder would probably do best. Color. Passion. Sheer joy of life, tousend of little particles jammed together, fighting their way up to the top, waiting for the right moment to jump out – pounce at a the arriving ones and then stick with them forever. India gets into your clothes, into your hair and skin and somehow you can’t wash it off anymore. Some parts will always be there with you. For good.

Doors – openings to a new world

Doors - opening up to a new world

I remember it well, maybe too well. This one phone conversation with a person then very close to me. The conversation took place on a secret mobile phone and the number changed every few weeks. Whenever the SIM card had been discovered by the guards it took a few days until a new card was available. I called someone who was a new inmate in an Indian prison. The phone was the door for the people in prison to the outside world and for me the door into the absurd world of this spares cell, where 25 men were kept in a room together, where they ate pumpkin curry each day and had nothing to do all day long. When I called I never knew who would pick up the phone, because the men shared a phone. Was it a killer or an innocent person talking to me, before passing the phone to the one I wanted to talk to? I never asked about the life of these other people, did not open these doors to these lives – probably in self-defense. I do not know exactly.

“Wherever you are right now, is the door open? Can you get out? ” During this exact conversation he repeated these phrases every few minutes. Eventually, I could not listen to it anymore and hung up with an excuse. “Wherever you are right now, is the door open? Can you get out?” It tore my heart, because him being locked up not only kept us away from each other, far more it also kept him away from himself. The constantly repeated questions showed how he broke behind this thick door which was locked several times. A door neither of us was able to open. It stayed closed. For another three years and finally also made me close a door that I had opened two years earlier.

Since the day I had had this conversation I like open doors much more – they symbolize a new beginning, a step into something new and unknown. Open doors let the sun in and people out.

The door on the picture belongs to the Nyingma Monastery Namdroling, the Buddhist monastery in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India. For refugees from Tibet it is a gateway back to their homeland, while the borders with Tibet will most probably stay closed for another countless years.
While some doors close or stay closed, luckily others are opening up. We have to be willing to see them and pass through.
So did I and hopefully so did he.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Door.”

NB: My English is in progress –  if you see mistakes feel free to send me a note. Thanks!