Correcting a Mistake, Or Respect Buddha

Did you ever have the nagging feeling you had made a mistake? Mine caught up to me in the shower this morning. So I decided I had to edit my post from yesterday. And today I’ll explain why.

Not the whole story, but yesterday I included in my post a cute photo of me, appearing to rub noses with a carved face of Buddha (which was actually in the distance.). I didn’t know what the picture would be when I was directed to pose for it. And I thought it was amusing.

But when I put it into my blog writing, and then saw it come up as the illustration to the piece in my site’s front page, I got an uneasy feeling. I hadn’t meant for that to happen. Why not? Why should this even be a “deal?”

Well, when visiting Thailand, I learned some things about Buddhism’s feelings about images of Buddha. We all know that religions have definite ideas about the power of images, and for how they are to be used. Muslims don’t create images of Muhammad. Christians usually have a single, powerful image of Jesus displayed. Buddhist temples have many, many images of Buddha. In fact, at the ancient capital of Ayutthaya there is a large courtyard surrounded by identical statues of sitting Buddhas, all decapitated by the invading Burmese many years ago. Worshippers in Thai temples can buy small squares of gold leaf to lovingly press onto Buddha statues. In fact in my country, Buddha statues are often sold to make nice household and garden decorations.

So if there are so many Buddhas, why not let my photo stay?

Because I learned, visiting Bangkok, how it should be. In major tourist-visited temples, there are umbrellas providing shade along the walkways. They also provide this message, written in English around their rims: “Knowing Buddha- Not for Tattoo, Not for Decoration…” I learned then- to respect Buddha is to only use his image for worship. My photo didn’t meet that criterion, so I am cutting it. In the shower this morning my subconscious bubbled up and I realized- I know better.

My grandson teaching his little sister how to “wai” respectfully to the Buddha.

9 thoughts on “Correcting a Mistake, Or Respect Buddha

  1. Time after time, your writing has been insightful, honest, and thoroughly appealing! Today, you helped me to think about respecting religious images/idols, and I enjoyed hearing about your personal experience and outlook.


  2. Thank you for this lesson about Buddha, and for acknowledging your mistake and correcting it. The more we know, the more sensitive we can be to the feelings of others, and the world will be a much better place. I’ve been challenging myself to learn something new every day, so thanks for this! (Love the picture of your grandkids).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So interesting! I didn’t know that about Buddha. I try to follow my gut/feelings/intuition- it can get pretty confusing. Good for you for not only recognizing, but doing something about it!


  4. I love that you honored what the Buddhists want. That’s very reflective and open-minded of you. I lived in Bangkok in 2017 and saw many of those signs, too. I quickly realized that it’s disrespectful to buy them as souvenirs. Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful piece.


  5. I agree with Kelly that it can be so confusing to know what ‘s right – hard enough at home, let alone in other countries and cultures. So interesting how time in the shower can propel our thinking and how you responded to that thinking by setting things straight.
    Love the photo of your grandkids. I hope they will remember their time in Thailand.


  6. Great post! The post is so thoughtful and well-written. Honestly, I learned some new things about Buddha while reading your post. Thank you for sharing. BTW – I love the picture at the end of the post.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s