21 October 2014

More to the Buddha than meets the eye

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There are many reasons why the image of the Buddha sitting calmly in meditation is one of the most visible icons in the world.

We might initially think his appeal is simply because he represents one who is at peace with himself, the world and everything in it; something which we all long to be somewhere inside. But in truth there is more to the Buddha than meets the eye, for he is the one who, as he said himself, has “done what has to be done”, the one who found the courage to look deeply into the nature of things in search of a genuine and lasting solution.

If we are inclined to see the Buddha just as one who opted out, we don’t have to look far beneath the surface to see that the journey he went on was no walk in the park, but a rite of passage of the highest order. It was his journey that was the making of him as much as the point it led him to. His call to action is in fact far from an invitation to sit quietly and contemplate our navels, rather it reaches out to our longing for adventure, challenge and meaning. It points us towards the one place we might least expect to find it, and most resist looking, namely deep within ourselves when we find the courage to take responsibility and do as he did. To work out for ourselves the solution to our problems, instead of sitting back and waiting, hoping that everything is just going to go our way.


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