Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Marble Mountains: In The Spotlight

On a sunny Friday in Danang, Vietnam, I went exploring at the Marble Mountains.  

For starters, I rode my motorbike out of the narrow streets of the crowded city center and along the relatively peaceful beach road, about 20 minutes to the south. 

That was a novel and enjoyable experience. 

Then I parked my bike at the base of the largest Marble Mountain and climbed up maybe a hundred roughly hewn stairsteps in the hot tropical midday sun. 

That was a sweaty and annoying experience. 

Then I reached the main garden area. Elaborate gates, benches and temple buildings tempted me to explore but we started our day of adventure by heading into one of the nearby caves. And here is what we saw. 

Yes. I discovered flowers, statues, incense and glowing candles because the cave was in fact a Buddhist temple.  

That was an eerie and other-worldly experience. 

But the most interesting discovery of all was made when I gazed into the center of the cavern. 

A shaft of white sunlight entered from the apex of the ceiling and shone with a fierce glory, creating a dramatic circle on the stone floor below. 

The effect was breathtaking. 

I noticed that each visitor to the cave ambled over to the circle of light and ceremoniously took a turn standing at its center, bathed in the brilliant beam. When the time was right, I took my turn as well. 

That was a sublime and holy experience. 

For those few moments, I felt like God's love and favor were pouring down on me through that hole in the rock overhead. And though I'm not usually the type who enjoys special attention, this was one time when I felt good to be in the spotlight. 

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