Buddha Still Smiles!

On the streets of Montreal when I was looking for a Buddha statue to buy,  I came across the window of a shop which showcased  a number of Buddha statues. The site of this window made me fall in love with the site itself. So I took a picture and hung it in a frame in my living room.


Buddha in Box. (Montreal, 2015)



My fondness for Buddha has a long history. It started when as a kid I visited Bodh Gaya in India, the place where Buddha  got enlightenment. Later when I was studying in Varanasi, I would visit Sarnath, where Buddha preached for the first time after attaining enlightenment. Visiting all these places made me wonder about him. Looking at his face would make me wonder; how could one have such a carefree smile? How could his eyes be looking so gently downwards? How can one have so much peace in his mind? Years later I came across a book “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse. There was a paragraph in that book which resonated with the question I had in my mind.  How can a man be so calm and live in harmony that his entire body, activities, and gesture would reflect his state of peacefulness. Here is an excerpt from the book “Siddhartha“.

The Buddha went quietly on his way, lost in thought. His peaceful countenance was neither happy nor sad.He seemed to be smiling gently inwardly. With a secret smile, not unlike that of a healthy child, he walked along peacefully, quietly. He wore his gown and walked along exactly like the other monk but his face and his step , his peaceful downward glance, his peaceful downward-hanging hand, and every finger of his hand spoke of peace, spoke of completeness, sought nothing, imitated nothing, reflected a continual quiet, an unfading light, an invulnerable peace.
And so Gotama wandered into the town to obtain alms, and the two Samanas recognized him only by his complete peacefulness of demeanour, by the stillness of his form, in which there was no seeking, no will, no counterfeit, no effort – only light and peace.
…(Siddhartha) looked attentively at the Gotama’s head, at his shoulders. at his feet, at his still, downward-hanging hand, and it seemed to him that in every joint of every finger of his hand there was knowledge; they spoke, breathed, radiated truth.

I, also, would like to look and smile, sit and walk like that, so free, so worthy, so restrained, so candid, so childlike and mysterious. A man only looks and walks like that when he has conquered his Self. I also will conquer my Self.

I had no idea as to how Buddha attained salvation, and such peaceful demeanour but as Buddha said, “Be Your Own Light” and “What we think we become”. So it’s up to us what path we choose and what we wish to become.

I have always found him as someone who has delivered to the people of this world what they actually need. His teachings have been guiding people around the world who seek peace and salvation. Many years back when the Buddha statue was pulled down by the Taliban I wrote a poem. Buddha may have died centuries back but his teachings kept him alive for centuries. With so much anarchy going on around the world it felt like he is dying every day. Now after so many years, I feel that no matter how much people may try to demolish his statues, his teachings would still enlighten the world.



Here is the poem. “Buddha is Dead“.

Wait! I said to the man running ahead,

 Looked into his red-bright eyes and said,
 A knife in my pocket, a bomb in his hand,
 I asked him, ‘Can you be a little kind? ‘
 Are you thirsty or these weapons are?
Why soak ourselves in blood and war’.
 I try to figure out what’s in his head.
 He smiles and says, ‘But, Buddha is Dead’.
 I smile and try to make some sense,
 ‘We lived in peace centuries after that’
 He looked amused and then snapped,
 ‘Don’t fool around good old fella;
 You know how recently he died,
 when they pulled him down at Bamiyan,
second time, they gave him salvation;
 For if he was alive, would have cried
 I reassured, ‘we aren’t enemies but friends,
 throw your weapons and shake hands’.
 He winked, smiled and then laughed aloud
 said without any malice from his side
 ‘I throw my weapon and hug you tight,
 but I know you’re still hiding a knife’.

If you are interested in knowing Buddha more, you must visit some of the places where Buddha spent his time preaching, peace, salvation and meditation. When in India, make sure to visit Sarnath near Varanasi, Bodh Gaya near Gaya, Kushinagar, Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Sanchi, Lumbini in Nepal (Birthplace of Buddha). Before visiting these places plan your trip properly.


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