“A GIRL AND HER BUDDHA” – REVISITED

A girl and her Buddha 1985

A friend posted a picture this morning from her visit to Asakusa Temple in Tokyo. This brought back a 19-year old memory of my own first visit to this Japanese shrine (1985).  Here’s the story I later wrote about it…

“A GIRL AND HER BUDDHA” – REVISITED

Light rain was still falling as I left the Asakusa temple. A hundred yards or so down the corridor, and to the right of the temple, I noticed a fairly small brass Bhudda-figure in the middle of a wooden courtyard. The reason I could tell it was brass was that Bhudda’s face glowed almost like gold in the day’s twilight, rubbed clean by the millions of fingers which touched it with affection. The rest of the statue was fairly dark-colored, almost brown (see the photo  below).

A small girl, no more than 10 years of age, was standing beside the sculpture.buddha.jpg (7386 bytes) Holding an umbrella in one hand, she was wiping Buddha’s face with her other hand.

It was a touching scene — a little person caring for her God with so much spontaneity, so much feeling. She seemed so pure in her love. And so practical. You see, she just didn’t want her God to get wet…

I stood there watching her for a minute. I contemplated how we, the Westerners, sometimes mutilate the beauty of our religions by sending our youngsters, dressed up as if for parade, to the stuffy Sunday schools which brainwash them with dogma. Certainly my children were never enamored by any of it. Eventually they simply told me that they no longer wanted to go to church. I didn’t force them.

At that moment, the little Japanese girl’s eyes met mine. She realized that I had been watching her. I felt like an intruder who had invaded someone’s privacy. Smiling apologetically, I turned around and hurried away, down the temple’s corridor…

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