Tuesday, November 10, 2009

3,000 lanterns, 1 night.

these are fire lanterns, not stars.

As we watched 3,000 of them get released at the same time from the temple grounds, it was hard to remember what exactly reality was, where we were, and how we got there. Perhaps we had been transported into some astronomical dream on another world entirely. It was something inbetween outer space and lower levels of ocean floor: a dark place only visited by strange, bright and tiny creatures, glowing and scattered like stars, jellyfish, or Christmas lights, but with melodic Buddhist chants humming in the background. The lanterns, some attached with their own set of fireworks, caused them to skyrocket, mirroring shooting stars, but only feet away; beautiful, sparkling, and incredibly dangerous. The lanterns rose with grace, sent with blessings of hope and thanksgiving, and drifted towards other realms of the atmosphere, taken into Other hands. You could see the mass of them rise together and change directions, pulling west, then some, having already lost their fire, slowly floated down again.

Me: I think I've figured it all out. This ceremony is just symbolic of the cyclical nature of life and death, of karma and samsara. Of our beauty and yet our individual insignificance.
Brandon: Oh, really? I thought it was just about man's obsession with lighting shit on fire.

Either way, it blew my mind.

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