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.
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,