This is a book about a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage to those places in India where the Buddha, Siddhattha Gotama, lived, taught, sat, and walked some two and a half thousand years ago.
To be a pilgrim is to put yourself in those places on earth where the presence of a long-departed but revered person is allowed to resonate anew in the mind. This exercise involves a certain ambiguity. For one thing,when you stand in such a site, no trace of the revered person survives. In the case of the Buddha, even artifacts from his time are scant. The fewshards of pottery, clay receptacles, and relics excavated fromhis period are all housed in museums. Moreover, even the ground upon which the pilgrim reverentially treads is now several feet above the ground on which the Buddha and his disciples would have walked.