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Buddha teaches a lesson

Several years ago, I guy I was dating went to Japan on a business trip. He brought me back a small and in expensive souvenir, since we hadn't been dating that long. I pulled out this little papier mache ball that was painted red, gold and white and looked vaguely like a face in kabuki makeup.

"It's a buddha's head," he said. "You make a wish while you're painting in one of eyes. The Japanese say that the buddha will grant your wish so that you'll paint in his other eye."

I looked at this weird thing, thanked him and moved on with my day.

Later, I looked at the sad eyeless thing and figured it couldn't hurt to have a visible reminder of something I wanted. I'm a terrible painter, but I can do a circle and really it wouldn't matter what the eye looked like, just that I knew I was supposed to be working toward something. The question was, what did I want badly enough that I would force myself to paint what might pass for a circle on this head? It couldn't be something simple, I was already good at remembering to save up for the important stuff I wanted so material stuff was out. But what did I really want?

Finally I settled on wishing to be content with what I had. My struggle to find something to wish for had centered on material items, and this was a bit alarming when I sat down and thought about it. Also, I've never really been content with anything in my life - I'm always stiving for bigger, better, newer, nicer. I wanted to just stop for a bit and enjoy where I was and not always be living in the future.

Lately, the buddha's been intruding on my thoughts more frequently. Since I've stopped working, I find myself appreciating the small things. I'm enjoying where I live, even though it's not finished. I'm happy in my marriage. I have some really awesome friends. I have enough money that I can make the bills and still enjoy going out occasionally. I'm slowing down, I guess.  I'm not content, per se, I mean there are still a million things I want to do and see and experience. But I am learning to appreciate what I have and where I'm at and live in the moment instead of the future, and that's really what I was looking for.

I'm starting to wonder if buddha hasn't earned his second eye.

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If you've been reading my journal, you know my life is a train wreck right now, but the best moment I have had in the last 3 months stands clear in my mind.

After a hard day, I was tired, and not wanting to cook. So I ate mandarine oranges out of a can with a spoon while standing at the counter on one leg, drinking a beer.

It was the nicest moment. So small. So eminently gettable.

Thanks for the reminder about what to look for.

I'm glad that I could help you remember something like that. That's the best compliment I could have received. Thanks. :)

Huh. That reminds me I have a daruma (I think that's what they're called?) someplace with one eye filled in; I should find it so I can fill in the other. And then take it out for skeet shooting :-P

Just make sure that they eyes stay together when you're done, or it may come back to haunt you for taking the eye it earned!

Hmm. It's interesting what you discover when all the white noise of life stops. ;-}

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