YANGON, Myanmar - Buddha never sleeps, kept awake by the whispered prayers of this predominantly Buddhist nation. Tonight, it is splattering wet here at the Shwedagon Pagoda but nobody seems to mind the rain. There they are -- monks in robes, elderlies, young boys and girls, foreigners and locals -- sinners we all are -- in the quiet corners of the golden pagoda, under 3,154 gold bells and more than 70,000 diamonds.
Time seems to stop here, a place where people walk barefoot and in utmost silence. The shutter of a camera is louder than any voice.
But the silence may be deceiving. Hearts seem to wail in pain here as people cry out to Prince Siddhartha. Pain is everywhere -- ancient ghosts drift with tortured souls in the vastness of the universe. The first visit will bring nightmares, in between the sound of dogs howling in the dead of night.
But pain never stays, wherever it may come from. And the soul will always find its way back home.
Top photo by Jes Aznar. The rest by me.