Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Buddha Rupa?

It seems that every department store from Walmart to Macy's has at least one "Buddha" for sale. It's become very trendy. Buddha bookends, doormats, candle holders, wind chimes. Buddha statues for the garden and the coffee table. Even Buddha pajamas! Buddha is everywhere.

I don't have a Buddha rupa. I don't have a shrine. I've never felt the need. Plus I just can't invision zipping over to the local Target and putting Buddha in the shopping cart along with my paper towels, dog biscuits and new bath mat. A friend of mine has a little Buddha paperweight on his desk. Actually it's Hotei, but it doesn't really matter. To him it's a cool little ornament. He thinks it's cute and unique. And he thinks it's "Buddha". No need to get into explanations and corrections here. It's just a paperweight.

Everything the Buddha taught is right here for me to learn. I may not always see it right away, or fully understand. But I know it's here all the same. I've mentioned before that I need reminders for dates and times. I've got calendars, notes on the fridge, and alarms set on my phone. I still forget things. Remembering the Buddha isn't difficult at all. No reminders needed.


Gary said...

Hello, Kris.

Buddha rupas are tools for contemplation, aren't they? If we use them as such, then that's great, but if we focus our mindfulness on other objects and consider them carefully instead, then that's great too.

As you say, "Buddha is everywhere"; particularly here, now, in the form(lessness) of awareness. Being mindful is, in a sense, being Buddha - or at least being what Ajahn Chah called 'Buddho', or the knowing.

Gary, at Forest Wisdom.

Dhamma81 said...


Here in Gainesville we just a got a new eatery called "Buddha Belly" and the slogan is "Enlighten Your Tastebuds". I must confess that when I first saw it I thought of stopping in but then I decided against it. I find that a lot of times i'll feel irritation at a place like Target, so seeing a Buddha rupa can be something that brings an agitated mind back to reality. From a personal standpoint it's easy to see that it's become trendy to have a "Buddha" anything, but in light of the Dhamma it doesn't really matter because as you say, the "Buddha" and the Dhamma are everywhere for anyone to see if they are receptive. Perhaps there will be some folks who look at a Buddha Rupa for the first time and actually get inspired to take up the practice. Nice reflection. Be well in your practice.


Piyal Walpola, MD, PhD said...

Hi Kris,
I think Justin has a good point here. A person, who has no faith in the Buddha, Dhamma, and the Sangha, may get inspired by seeing a Buddha rupa. He might want to investigate, “who is this person….. What can I learn from his teachings”…. and so on. But your point is well taken. You don't need to have a Buddha rupa if you have the strong faith in what the Buddha has taught, the Dhamma (“Akarawthi Sadha”). Buddha once had a disciple called Ven. Vakkali. He used to stare at Buddha and really enjoyed looking at his physical body. Buddha told him, “Vakkali, why are you starring at my decaying body? If you want to see me see the Dhamma ("Yo Dhamman passathi, so mun passathi").
Thanks again for the beautiful reflection.

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