Sunday, November 05, 2006
Somebody Else Did All the Talking
So here's Buddha. Like me, he spent a little time in India.
Well, I just got back a couple of weeks ago. Buddha didn't have jet travel and a house waiting for him in Bali.
Great teacher, I see this image of you, and it makes me think about the problems of being misunderstood.
I know that you were a person of great accomplishments. You tried a number of ways to get out of the cursed cycle of Samsara. You found a workable method. You taught it to as many people as you could. This art tells me that you were in the Deer Park at Sarnath, and your hand mudra tells me that you were teaching. The muscular depiction of your body tells me of the aesthetics of the cultures that succeeded the era of your physical life. They liked the wrestler's body. Even Jain saints and Hindu gods have that body. A pleasing rendition of the human form.
I see that somewhere along the timeline, a thief came and hacked off the head that was meant to portray your great mind, your calm mood, and your very important image. People love pictures. People are compelled to illustrate. They like to have mementos and images. You left the earth asking that no one idolize or iconographize you, but it was only a matter of a hundred years before your followers couldn't resist making images of you.
Even today, people bow down to your image. I keep a number of artifacts of your image, nothing really valuable, but I like them. They make me think of you and your lessons. The image is instantly recognizable to people of many nations. In many ways, the image is more important to people nowadays, than your lessons.
You had something to say, it got reinterpreted and diluted, and maybe there's a little less of you around because of that.
I know what it's like to have something to say, but to have it sit silently tucked away somewhere. No one asked me, no one wanted to know. There was a lot of talk all around me, but I didn't say anything. My head may as well have been hacked off. I just sat there. I was misinterpreted.