Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Buddha's Birthday

In honor of Buddha's Birthday coming up (our son can't believe his good fortune - he gets the day off from school!) I thought this would be a good occasion to post a few of my pictures of "the largest outdoor sitting Buddha in the world" on Lantau Island (turns out there are larger Buddha's, but they are either not outdoors or not sitting haha).

So, I just loved the expression on this girl's face as she sits on the bottom of the steps leading up to the Buddha-- (and yes, shame on you earthly minded people, she was wearing a full set of clothes even though you can't see it in the photo!)

Second picture has some of the largest incense sticks I've ever seen, in the gardens and devotional places surrounding the Buddha. The air was perfumed by it, and I couldn't help but think of David's Psalm:

Let my prayer rise up as incense before you,
the lifting up of my hands
as an evening sacrifice.
--Psalm 141:2

Third picture is of a guy paying homage in front of one of the gorgeous Bodhisattva statues which surround the big Buddha.

My conclusion? The human desire and creativity in searching out a connectedness to the divine is something which transcends age, culture, gender. I believe that God honors that desire as something beautiful, in fact has created it, and is very near to all of us who reach out in hope of that "something more" to life.

At the same time, St. Paul 's words also echo in my mind:

What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you... Since we are God's children, we ought not think that the Divine Being is like gold or silver or stone -- an image made by human design and skill. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. (see Acts 17:16-34)

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