Rude Awakenings:
Two Englishmen on Foot in Buddhism’s Holy Land

By Ajahn Sucitto and Nick Scott
Published by Wisdom Publications
www.wisdompubs.org

In this excerpt, Nick and Ajahn are welcomed to India by beggars, taxi-drivers, and some very noisy wildlife.

CHAPTER 1 PILGRIM’S WAY

AJAHN SUCITTO “Chomp, chomp, chomp! Slurp!” Something devilish about that sound, a deliberately provocative assault on my meditation. When your eyes are closed and your mind turned inward, you feel the world should leave your unguarded hearing alone—it doesn’t—let alone such lip smacking in the middle of the night on a New Delhi rooftop while I am seeking to contemplate higher things.

“Chomp, chomp! Slurp, slurp!” It must be just beside my left shoulder. A slow turn and opening of the eyes reveals only the brown-black murk of night sky, smoke, and dust; and a tree back beyond the roof whose branches extend overhead. In front of me beyond the parapet is the street, still half alive with a cycle-rickshaw driver rocking and aimlessly pirouetting his bike while chatting with someone squatting on the road; a few people on the pavement, children mostly, sleep in blankets; scraps of paper tumble spasmodically when the dull air rolls in its sleep. New Delhi’s Chelmsford Road, at night, half lit with yellow sodium lights, lacks the energy of a full-blown hell. No, the sound again comes from behind and above: something dark hanging upside down under the tree—beating leathery wings and chomping. “Giant fruit bat,” comments “Nick-Who-Knows.”

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