Erenlai - A Spiritual Treasure Map 給心靈的藏寶圖
A Spiritual Treasure Map 給心靈的藏寶圖

A Spiritual Treasure Map 給心靈的藏寶圖

 

The rich wisdom found in Chinese religious and spiritual traditions is not just a treasure of the past. Let us re-discover and illuminate what China has to offer to the global spiritual quest of the modern world.

從中國到世界的天涯海角都有古老的哲思,值得活在現代社會的我們重新去探索。這些寶藏是靈魂的食糧,也是生命最底層的渴望。在生而為人的這條路上,你找過到那張給心靈的藏寶圖嗎?

 

 

Thursday, 22 February 2007

李金远的天路历程

纪念一代伟人利玛窦到北京四百周年

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Thursday, 22 February 2007

李金遠的天路歷程

紀念一代偉人利瑪竇到北京四百周年

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Saturday, 10 February 2007

无海的灯塔

【海的深渊】

无海的灯塔立在灰蒙的荒野上
浪头拍打著回音树
未知的字句流入
有毒的混杂汁液

小孩用头撞锁
男人看起来异常地高
身体的中央出现海的深渊
陷入惊恐的锚
因沉浸在欲望中而垂死
做船员的朋友

【黑色丝绸】

无法捕捉的丝绸
翻卷起落的海面
庆贺一场场的婚礼
迎娶白纱覆地的妻子
睡意在黎明兴起
夜晚窥视红色小舟

【过】

对抗玻璃如磐石
生命在远方
生继承空

不定感生柔情
意志坚定

附加的多媒体:
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Saturday, 10 February 2007

無海的燈塔

【海的深淵】

無海的燈塔立在灰濛的荒野上
浪頭拍打著回音樹
未知的字句流入
有毒的混雜汁液

小孩用頭撞鎖
男人看起來異常地高
身體的中央出現海的深淵
陷入驚恐的錨
因沉浸在欲望中而垂死
做船員的朋友

【黑色絲綢】

無法捕捉的絲綢
翻捲起落的海面
慶賀一場場的婚禮
迎娶白紗覆地的妻子
睡意在黎明興起
夜晚窺視紅色小舟

【過】

對抗玻璃如磐石
生命在遠方
生繼承空

不定感生柔情
意志堅定


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Sunday, 04 February 2007

Nuosu Religion: Rituals, Agents and Beliefs

Religion can be approached and defined from a variety of standpoints. I choose here to pragmatically study Nuosu religion as a complex of rituals; the agents that participate in them; and set of beliefs that somehow underline these rituals while their maintenance is supported by this very performance. In one approach, Nuoso religion can thus be described as a set of rituals proper to the Nusou people living on the Liangshan territory.

- A - Rituals

Although all Nuosu rituals conform to some patterns and sequences that identify them indeed as rituals, they are also characterized by their variety, a variety that answers to the diversity of the situations that require their performance. It is not enough to say that rituals in Liangshan are performed first and foremost when death and illness occur. Their particular configuration will depend on the cause of death and the situation of the deceased at the time he/she leaves this world and on still other considerations when rites are performed years after the death for ensuring his/her incorporation into the ancestors’ world. Likewise, rituals will vary according to the nature of illness and the rituals’ sequence will further unfold when the cause of illness is ritualistically determined. Not only are rituals diverse and numerous, they also organize themselves into sequences determined by the situations to which they respond.

Besides birth, death and illness, there is an indefinite number of situations that might call for a ritual. New Year (in November) and the Torch Festival (in July) are two obvious occurrences. Cleansing rituals (xuox-burr) regularly occur on a basis that varies according to families and districts. Other ritual occurrences might include: curses enacted as a vengeance; determination of a culprit’s identity, attempts at reconciliation between spouses; inauguration of a new house… In recent times, small-scale rituals are occasionally performed for ensuring success at exams or the safety of a car and its driver for instance.

Rituals can be summarily divided into two kinds: “below the road” rituals include all rituals that deal with death and the well-being of the ancestors. “Above the road” rituals include all other rituals. From this perspective, it can be said that rituals provide at the same time for the long-term sustenance of the community of the living and of the dead from which the living derive their existence and identity, and for flexible answers to a variety of existential and social situations, susceptible to be redefined according to circumstances.

- B - Agents

The most revered religious agent in Yi religion is called bi-mox. His importance is attested by the fact that Nuosu religion is sometimes called “bi-mox religion”, in the same way as Naxi religion is called “dongba religion.” The chanting of written scriptures is usually described as being the main characteristics of bi-mox’s activity. One becomes a bi-mox by virtue of patrilineal descent. Though necessary, this condition is not sufficient. A long apprenticeship under the guidance of the father or another member of the father’s clan is also required. Summing up, bi-mox mediate between the human and the supernatural world thanks to (a) their lineage, (b) their knowledge and chanting of written, fixed scriptures, (c) the efficacy of these scriptures themselves and of the ritual instruments that the bi-mox possess and use, (d) personal skills, that vary from one practitioner to another.

Bi-mox are usually contrasted with su-nyit. Both can perform similar deeds, with the fundamental restriction that rituals linked to death and to the subsequent destiny of the soul are strictly reserved to bi-mox. If lineage and knowledge of scriptures are the mediations that bi-mox make use of, su-nyit work through a process of “immediacy.” That is to say, the direct election that protecting spirits (wa-sa) make of them allow them to enter into a direct battle with malignant ghosts. Su-nyit, it is usually said, do not rely on a lineage but on election. They do not chase the ghosts by the power of the scriptures (as a rule they are illiterate), but by “seeing” them and beating the drum.

Such opposition has to be qualified. Though bi-mox are literate, the chanting of the scriptures rely above all on memorization. Similarly, the language and formulas used by the su-nyit is very similar to the ones of the bi-mox, as it also relies on a socialization process. It is very frequent to meet with su-nyit whose family has been in the trade for a number of generations, though election takes place for each member of the lineage. Even when this is not the case, su-nyit place themselves within a “guild” genealogy that they chant at the beginning of the ritual. Finally, meeting with people who can perform in quality of bi-mox and su-nyit (ni-bi-zhz) is not rare, which indicates that the distinction is far from being absolute.

Besides bi-mox and su-nyit, non-“qualified” religious intermediaries play a role in performing rituals. As a matter of fact, each family chief performs on various occasions, the Yi New Year and Torch Festival being the most conspicuous ones. The form taken by these ceremonies, that include chanting and sacrifices, do qualify them as full-fledged religious rituals. On an even simpler basis, everyone can perform a basic ritual with a few words, an egg or a glass of alcohol, if something specific frightens him, for instance. This kind of simple practice is called yy-hox-pyt. Finally, some elders or people with special skills are able to perform a large number of rituals, for instance those commonly grouped together under the term of va-xi. Performing a va-xi requires some skills (the ceremony lasts around two hours, the killing of a rooster is involved as well as various offerings and the use of “hot stones” for cleansing) but va-xi practitioners do not benefit from the help of protecting spirits as is the case for bi-mox and su-nyit. Vaxi is performed if bad words and curses against a family have been overheard, if one has reason to fear the approach of illness, if one has had bad dreams, if some troubling event has occurred, such as the sow eating the piglets, the hen attacking its eggs or a dog climbing on the roof of the house. Other types of va-xi rituals are meant to solve quarrels and disagreements. Religious specialists also include people able to find lost things through various divinatory skills.

- C - Beliefs

Nuosu religion thus appears as an integrated whole of practices giving its structure and meaning to the time-space of human existence. At the same time, it is not so easy to identify the set of beliefs that informs this structure of meaningful practices. Looking at the beliefs explicitly or implicitly stated in bi-mox writings is a necessary task (which is far from being complete) but not a sufficient one. There is a gap between the corpus of creeds and myths proper to a given place and the more systematic outlook expressed by the ritualistic writings. Such a gap is somehow harder to perceive in areas that are bi-mox strongholds (this is markedly the case in Meigu county), but can be very visible in areas where contacts and traditions are more diversified. Answers as to the nature (and number) of the human soul as its degree of immortality, the place of rest of the ancestors, the nature of ghosts and spirits vary to a much greater extent than usually recorded. What remains constant is that the stress is indeed on the ancestors (the only kind of spirits that can be truly known or identified) and on ghosts. The latter can be seen as “counter-ancestors” in the sense that, even if it is said that not all ghosts are souls unable to enter into the ancestors world, the other types of ghosts usually recorded are those of animals whose “blood lineages’ belong to the same class as human beings (cats and horses most notably)

Although there are differences in rituals and beliefs from one place to another, one can identify a “world-vision” that is proper to Nuosu religion. The plasticity proper to any “world-vision” makes it for me a more appropriate term than the one of “set of beliefs.” A good starting point for entering into this world vision might be the following: after a person has died, rites are meant to help him/her not to be devoured, nor to be devourer. To devour or to be devoured are actually the two sides of the same coin: the “devoured” spirit is the one which has fallen prey to the ghosts and becomes itself a ravenous ghost, as it tries to compensate for what has been preyed upon it. The ritual of cremation and the making of a “bamboo soul” are meant to spare the soul such a destiny. The large-scale rites for the final sending-off to the ancestors’ world will eventually allow the soul to access a place where it can find a plentiful supply of food without having to prey upon the world of the living. Once at its resting place, the ancestor can ensure peace to his/her descendants.

In contrast, a ghost is a glutton. (And a glutton is especially at risk to become a ghost.) The gluttony of the ghosts is the reason that makes people ill, and people must avoid at any price to become themselves hungry ghosts. Consequently, the healing process is communitarian in nature. By attending the healing ritual, the family and the neighbors call back the sick from the world where the ghosts are leading him towards the human universe, where meals are taken together. Togetherness is part of the ritual efficacy. Broadly speaking, to heal the social body and to heal the sick body are to be seen as joint operations, as ghosts are the powers that break living connections, be it within the flesh or within the community. They break living bodies into pieces. The goal of the ritual is always to reassemble what has been driven apart. Most notably, by ensuring the proper “consumption” of the deceased (as long as the circumstances of his/her death allow it) through the cremation process and the rites that follow during the years, one allows him/her to join a new community. From there, the deceased can protect the community of the living from the improper gluttonous behavior of the ghosts – those who have not been properly “consumed.”

Summing up, meal can be the ultimate metaphor for ordering Nuosu religious rituals, agents and world vision into a whole. Meals are about the survival, cohesiveness and prosperity of the community. The performing of a ritual is like the preparation and enactment of a meal that will restore physical and social forces against divisive agents. Finally, the passage that leads from this world to the afterlife can be adequately represented by the cooking and consumption process.


Monday, 22 January 2007

To Live is to Give

“Network”, it can be said, is a loosely used word that refers to loosely structured ways of exchanging information, supporting each other and/or leading common actions. It links people and groups at various levels, local or global, sometimes for their own mutual benefit, sometimes in the interest of a cause that transcends and unites the members of the network.

The reach and efficiency of networks has been greatly enhanced by the Internet. This might be partly because the Internet allows for horizontal relationships, and that horizontal relationships are very much at the core of networking, distinguishing networks from other organizational structures.

Exchange of knowledge is another characteristic of networks. This is already true of “social networks”, exemplified by the Old Boys associations. For sure, social networks primarily provide emotional and cultural support, but they constitute also the port through which information that might help one to change one’s career path or get valuable tips on the stock market are exchanged. Information becomes even more central when we come to what can be labeled as “knowledge networks”: this kind of networks is basically a space for discussion that helps to determine research directions (for an academic community) or action strategies (for an association of people and groups committed to a social or environmental cause for instance.) For putting it another way, it is only within knowledge networks that “information” truly becomes “knowledge”, i.e. is crystallized into a body of consistent and mutually reinforcing assumptions. It is also within knowledge networks that knowledge receives a meaning that leads a group to enact value judgments and maybe to decide on a course of action.

The need to connect together scientific assessments, policymaking and grassroots activism explains the spread of knowledge networks. Also, the globalization of issues such as environment, violence, international trade and workers’ rights induces people to connect to groups that share similar concerns in various cultural and political contexts. International networks are partly a product of the eroding power of the Nation-State, and partly a response to the increased influence of other players, such as multinational companies.

Willemijn Verkoren has identified a few conditions under which knowledge networks can function correctly (International Journal of Peace Studies, 11-2, 2006). I rephrase here in my own way those that seem to me more important:
1) The network does not exist in isolation; exchanges going through the network and real life activities are linked in a sustainable way.
2) The purpose of networking is clear, as are the possibilities offered by the network and the limits of what it can achieve.
3) Capacity for learning, room for discussion, and openness in membership, discussion and sharing are requisites for the efficacy of the network.
4) While being able to operate autonomously, the network must be linked to a wider environment, to enable it to give and to receive.
5) Results of the interaction have to be visible at some stage.
6) To facilitate and moderate a network requires time and expertise.
7) Finally, the flexibility of the network helps it to facilitate exchanges, action and empowerment without trespassing over its boundaries, rather than aiming to become an all-encompassing knowledge system.

In the field of social action, there might be not stronger incentive to the spreading of the knowledge network model than the concerns raised around the sustainability of our economies and the current world governance system. The debate on climatic change shows that scientific conclusions are themselves reached through the nurturing of a permanent network of information and debate. The policy debate is nurtured by different (and often diverging) networks of citizens, experts and companies. Interconnection between these groups helps to go from traditional lobbying to innovative networking, and the growing debate on facts and values is conducive of such interconnections. Technical expertise is not sufficient for tackling such a broadly-shaped issue, and groups of citizens will continue to debate on consumption models, the resurgence of values such as frugality and solidarity, hopefully advancing towards formulations and insights that will develop a cultural model in line with the technical imperatives linked to the issue at stake. The mobilization of cultural resources for nurturing sustainable development - a mobilization achieved through a dialogue on core values, sharing of success stories and exchange of strategic analyses - is exactly what a knowledge network might want to achieve.

Maybe it would be useful for all of us to reflect on the following questions:
- What are the knowledge networks that I am presently engaged into?
- Are these networks akin to my real interests and current concerns, or should I try to engage into new ones?
- May I possibly be active in a web of relationships that could happily develop into a real knowledge network, sharing information among its members and with other networks, provided that I encourage the group to take the necessary steps for becoming more reflexive and participatory?
- What kind of knowledge networks does my environment need, and may I be instrumental in fostering such alliances?

May our online interactions and our real life activities follow more and more the model sketched here, so as to overcome the feeling of impotence that often overwhelms all of us. Our participation in some kind of knowledge networks should encourage us to become active citizens of a world whose destiny will finally be determined by the quality of the networking we enter into and the course of actions that naturally follows.
International Institute for Sustainable Development: about knowledge networks

Friday, 22 December 2006

時間崩塌

時間崩塌
壓縮空間
氣息稀少 抽空 無法潛移
窒息脅迫 吼叫 遠離
來與去平衡
空取得生命 化為濕潤的大地

Le temps se serre
Le temps se serre contre lui-même
comprime l’espace

Le souffle circule difficilement
se raréfie et s’appauvrit

L’étoffement menace
gronde et s’éloigne

Le va et vient se balance
le vide prend vie et devient terre humide

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Thursday, 14 December 2006

風的紋路

【一】

枝椏伸展
裸露的恐懼隱沒隱現
彩墨照亮恐懼

Les ramillles s’étirent
la peur décoiffée transparaît
l’encre colorée l’illumine

【二】

木探高
水舞動
形式甦醒

la poussée du bois
la danse de l’eau
réveil des formes

【三】

靈魂找到實質
在身體的印記

時間澄透

l’âme trouve sa consistance
dans les traces du corps

transparence du temps


【圖 笨篤】


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Saturday, 02 December 2006

Samsara...along the Gange River



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Friday, 24 November 2006

走過生死間


我的父親死前並不知道他快死了,也根本不知道自己得了癌症。他對醫學的討論一點都沒有興趣,病症忽然爆發,好像連他自個兒都不知道是怎麼回事。住院住了五個星期,他就過世了,應該是在睡夢中離開人世的。
他得了癌症,從頭到尾我們都沒有告訴他。現在想想,這樣一個決定對我家日後的變遷,有著重大的轉折。那時沒有說出口的話,讓整個家變得靜默,家人之間產生裂痕,後來連要溝通都變得很困難。
往事無法重來,我很難知道當時以我父親的身體狀況,是否願意聽到癌症的宣判,是否能夠清醒地承受再也見不到小女兒的事實,那時候她只有十歲。或許,我們沒有給他面對死亡的機會,讓他在自己預期的狀況下死去。
VieetMort_ct
死亡是人類的一項行為,也許是最為高致的行為,可說是成就一段生命。人類垂死的過程,歷經死亡的方式,使人類成為真正的人。社會上大家不願意談論死亡,病人看不見死亡,活人感覺不到死亡,大家把死亡視為一種羞於見人的行為。如果我們想要從癌症透視生命的價值,我們必須先懂得看待死亡的價值。懂得承認自己將會一死的人,懂得說出和解的語言,懂得給予他人意見與鼓勵,這樣的人是幸福的人,他的周遭也會是幸福的人。
社會要懂得教人承認自己終究一死,而不是教人懷抱著長生的幻相。承認死亡的方式,在於克服痛苦與困難,因為後者使得人性臻於完美。如此,社會就能釋放生命的能量,創造生與死之間全新的關係。
對於重大癌症病患,面對重病的態度是很弔詭的:癌症病患動用所有生命的能量,希望治療達致有效,也事先做好心裡準備,知道會來的終究會來,不隱瞞各種結果。但是,十分弔詭的是,面對死亡的勇氣會釋放出生存的能量。
有的病患自己騙自己,有的家屬對病患隱瞞病情,反而使得病患難以釋放自身的能量。相反的,我們也聽說有的病患得知自己患了不治之症,反而懂得欣賞生命的美,說出他們真實體會到內在的平靜與幸福。以上這些例子,說明沒有什麼是直線發展的。每個人面對死亡的態度,最先來自個人的經驗,只有一個人可以擔綱,無法加以預期。當死亡降臨的一刻,沒有人能夠預測自己面對死亡的反應。
如果我們要對癌症病患談論生命的價值,首先我們必須確定一件事,那就是死亡不是一個禁忌,我們不能夠奪走即將撒手人寰的人看待死亡的權益。因此,我們會發現,死亡是言語指涉的對象:我們必須讓病患說出自身的死,也許是透過獨白,或者是在家人面對說出,或者只是幾聲嘶吼或是哭泣。我們必須再加以說明的是,我們不應該害怕嘶吼或是哭泣,這也不該是個禁忌。面對死亡,面對痛苦的一切表達,都是神聖的,也都要用尊重與無畏的態度相迎。最重要的是,當死亡成了語言或是身體的動作所指涉的對象,死亡才真正具有人性。
人性尊嚴的彰顯並不在否認疾病,而是要接受自己的狀況,展現生命的能量。接受並不等於認命,接受是張開雙眼,探索內在的田地,同時知道自己生命的長度有限。接受,是讓生命流居心田,讓超越己身的生命流居心田。生命遠走的時刻,我們還是感到生命的來臨,因為生命的遠走也可以變成另一個誕生。
當代的文化倡導百分之百的健康,頌揚體能與智能的表現,或呈現出身體健全的一面。然而,日常生活所見不外乎挫折、疾病,以及死亡,提醒大眾以智慧謹慎看待,比起廣告或是雜誌報導宣揚的錯誤價值,前者顯得無比珍貴。痛苦提升我們內在的人性尊嚴,使得我們內在的價值高於鏡中反映的影像。人性尊嚴除了透過肉身的優雅來表達以外,也透過生命的優雅及心靈的優雅來展現。我們對死亡的行為必須有所改觀,死亡的行為也必須得到應有的尊重,甚至連患重病或是正在老去的人也應該如此,受苦的行為裡透露出智慧與心靈的豐富面,卻往往得不到大家的關注。
在身體耗盡的狀態,有的生者接受生命,這份接受來自一個內在安寧與內在喜悅中湧泉不盡的寶藏,這份喜悅成了真正的歡欣,因為它是弔詭的,因為這份喜悅是無處不自喜的快樂,而不是來自舒適感的滿足。這個奧祕往往令人不得解。也許我們應該閉口,雙膝跪地。但是,癌症病患還是告訴我們:生命的誕生本是不求報答,生命的運轉與遠離也都在無償中實現,生命的價值在於生。

 

Friday, 24 November 2006

流转 在恒河上

叶姿吟 撰文 摄影

2005年12月,我从加德满都飞向恒河边的瓦拉那西,为的是看看我们在乡下的植树计划,探访我的法国社工友人在水资源推广上的成果,也为了看看一个我认养的孩子。我为这一切充满好奇.......印度,以这些原因加上那我未曾亲临过的恒河,大声地召唤著我。

瓦哈那西是史上最早成型的人类都市,它在历经争战,尤其是16.7世纪印度教与回教徒的厮杀后,整个城市受到一定程度的损毁。如今,破落的建筑还是留下昔日曾经辉煌的珠丝蚂迹,而当日王朝建筑的精雕细琢不难想见。

这圣城啊!人多(吐痰多),狗多(所以狗屎多),牛多(所以牛屎多);车多、船多、三轮车多、乞丐多 、朝圣者多、污染多、噪音多、旅行者多、小混混多、店多、小贩多、买卖多、法会多、音乐多, 人声,从不间断。

最后才发现唯一可以片刻安宁的是逃上小船,请船夫驶向恒河的中心。在那里,终于,可以安静地 看著恒河岸的云云众生。终于,没有任何噪音地能看著岸上的人们....沐浴的沐浴、洗衣的洗衣、练瑜珈的练瑜珈、理发的理发、喝茶的喝茶、算命的算命、按摩的按摩、骚扰游客的骚扰游客、画画的画画、卖花生的卖花生、弄蛇的弄蛇、叫卖的叫卖、拍照的拍照、行乞的行乞、恋爱的恋爱、失恋的失恋、灵修的灵修、吟唱的吟唱、过世的等火化、火化的化成灰烬。

这无以言喻的圣河啊!有最脏乱的;最圣洁的;最残酷的;最神性的;最贪婪的;最奉献的;神秘与盲从,光明与黑暗,都在河岸发生。

这是瓦哈那西的命脉,没有这河边的生老病死、贪嗔痴昧,这城就失了味道。但也因为有了这些,每一刻你都有对生命的某种伤感或体悟。走在瓦哈纳西,像走在一条生命的绳索上,左看右看,才发现每个人都在循环中漫步走向轮回......

附加的多媒体:
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Friday, 24 November 2006

流轉 在恆河上

2005年12月,我從加德滿都飛向恆河邊的瓦拉那西,為的是看看我們在鄉下的植樹計劃,探訪我的法國社工友人在水資源推廣上的成果,也為了看看一個我認養的孩子。我為這一切充滿好奇……印度,以這些原因加上那我未曾親臨過的恆河,大聲地召喚著我。

瓦哈那西是史上最早成型的人類都市,它在歷經爭戰,尤其是16.7世紀印度教與回教徒的廝殺後,整個城市受到一定程度的損毀。如今,破落的建築還是留下昔日曾經輝煌的珠絲螞跡,而當日王朝建築的精雕細琢不難想見。

這聖城啊!人多(吐痰多),狗多(所以狗屎多),牛多(所以牛屎多);車多、船多、三輪車多、乞丐多 、朝聖者多、污染多、噪音多、旅行者多、小混混多、店多、小販多、買賣多、法會多、音樂多, 人聲,從不間斷。

最後才發現唯一可以片刻安寧的是逃上小船,請船夫駛向恆河的中心。在那裡,終於,可以安靜地 看著恆河岸的云云眾生。終於,沒有任何噪音地能看著岸上的人們....沐浴的沐浴、洗衣的洗衣、練瑜珈的練瑜珈、理髮的理髮、喝茶的喝茶、算命的算命、按摩的按摩、騷擾遊客的騷擾遊客、畫畫的畫畫、賣花生的賣花生、弄蛇的弄蛇、叫賣的叫賣、拍照的拍照、行乞的行乞、戀愛的戀愛、失戀的失戀、靈修的靈修、吟唱的吟唱、過世的等火化、火化的化成灰燼。

這無以言喻的聖河啊!有最髒亂的;最聖潔的;最殘酷的;最神性的;最貪婪的;最奉獻的;神秘與盲從,光明與黑暗,都在河岸發生。

這是瓦哈那西的命脈,沒有這河邊的生老病死、貪嗔癡昧,這城就失了味道。但也因為有了這些,每一刻你都有對生命的某種傷感或體悟。走在瓦哈納西,像走在一條生命的繩索上,左看右看,才發現每個人都在循環中漫步走向輪迴……



葉姿吟 撰文 攝影


附加的多媒體:

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