Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Wednesday wanderings

I was born at 5.47pm on a Wednesday.   I never liked being Wednesday's child because according to the poem I was supposed to be "full of woe".  I wanted to be Thursday's child who had far to go.  In Buddhist mythology each day of the week has a different meaning. When Buddhists visit a temple they first offer their respects to the shrine corresponding with their day of birth.  Buddha has a different posture for each day of the week.

At  Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon I removed my shoes, walked clockwise through the throngs of worshippers and arrived at Wednesday afternoon.  There are two images for Wednesday because in the morning buddha received alms and in the afternoon he retreated to the forest and wandered with a monkey and an elephant.  Apparently Wednesday afternoon's Buddhist children are trustworthy and hardworking and strong like elephants.

Crowds can be lonely places when travelling on your own but I joined my fellow Wednesdians at our shrine and got talking to a burmese sailor.  He spoke quite good English because he travels the world on cargo ships and had just returned from Ghana. He only had one night in Yangon so had come to Shwedegon to pay his respects.  We laughed about being stuck with a life time of hard work ( not like those lazy children from Tuesday.... ) and being blessed with the strength of elephants.  He shared his candles with me and I lit some incense.

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