Saturday, December 24, 2005

Laughing Buddha

Guess what I just got as a gift?

Yes, that's right, a laughing buddha! (ok, well maybe the picture gave it away a little early)

I'm so excited about my little happy buddha. I was feeling kind of down the previous days... mainly due to little set-backs and petty dramatics going on around me. I was packing for my trip back to Austin, half-sulking, when I remembered that I had gotten a small package the day before. I hadn't had time to open it yet. I had been studying for finals and worrying my life away.

So I opened my little box, and this guy was just grinning back at me from the get-go.

I think I finally understood Buddhism at that moment. I mean, I had read theological literature and memorized a brief history of Buddha(s) but it wasn't until I saw this little guy grinning back at me that I understood.

I claim to be Taoist, though not a very good one. I try to simplify my life and recognize the universal nature of my environment... but I get caught up in the ado of living and sometimes don't get the chance to reflect. I think one of my missing keys is letting go. I had been thinking some negative thoughts recently, knowing fully that these thoughts were keeping me down. Not anymore. Thank you laughing buddha (and friend, you know who you are) for showing me that everything's going to be alright.

So, I think I'm going to carry a little pouch around with me to symbolize buddha's sack, which is one common theme in buddha statues. Laughing buddha supposedly carries a bag around with him to collect the world's suffering. Whenever someone is down, all they need do is rub buddha's belly to remind theirself that, through his teachings, we need not dwell in this suffering. In this action, he takes our suffering, stuffs it in his little bag, and carries it away...

Smiling as he goes.

Why? Well, it's because he's doing what he loves the most, helping others and spreading happiness in the world.

I think that's something I can bear.


At 3:31 AM, Blogger One Man From Verona said...

Oh John!

I felt so bad I couldn't present that in person, but now that I know it gave you some happiness, it made me so happy.

Since it's been a few weeks since I've visited your "Letters from America," I clicked on your bookmark and when I saw that picture, I immidiately started laughing and crying to see that laughing budda pop up on my screen.

And I think you got the point exactly, he's just supposed to give you a bit of peace when you need it. And of course, I love to give religious idols around Christmas time.

At 3:12 AM, Blogger Ticklespider said...

i did a google search for "buddhas sack", after taking notice of the tiny buddha statue perched on my speaker. i was dusting him off and got curious about the bag he carries. your blog came up, so i came and read. answered my question simply and beautifully. i just picked him up and rubbed the dust off his little belly...felt a grin creep across my face.

amazing things are happening in our world.


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