by Ven. Pajalo (Austria)

"Be your own refuge with no one else as refuge,

have the Dhamma as refuge with nothing else as refuge."

(The Buddha)

Seeing Dhamma means seeing the Buddha, practicing the Dhamma means showing respect to the Buddha, yet people prefer to worship a statue made out of gold and label it 'Buddha'.

Our heart is covered with too much rust to look through this futile act with the eyes of innocent wisdom. We lose and forget ourselves in the turmoil of blind believes, tradition and fears which have fixed our hearts, and those of our forefathers, for years, decades and centuries. Old habits from the past keep us moving and reacting, like unclear streams, which are flowing passivily towards the sea. We are scared to drink spontaniously the fresh water of reality, which each new moment offers, untouched by rituals and sacrifices.

Full of worldly anxieties we search for material objects to satisfy our spiritual hopes. A thing, worth thousands of coins, available for few and admired by many, is made "holy" through our temporary thoughts and believes, yet still it will continue to be forever subject to change, like an ordinary leaf or stone.

We believe that it gives us strength in times of fear and despair, yet fear and despair will for sure overwhelm us in return when 'Aniccha' will come unexpected one day in form of theft, loss or destruction.

Making our own heart a little bit more pure, more shiny, more golden and good enough as a refuge for ourselves and for others, a value will be created more worth than thousands of coins, which can't be touched by worldly happenings and can't be shattered by fears common to men.

Such beauty and glitter formed from our own wisdom will reveal to us that there are other ways to lighten up our heart and our world - more effective than the most respectful manner and words towards a statue, even if it's out of pure gold.

Only a few moments of silence are needed to calm the mind, only a few coins are needed to lighten the burden of a beggar, only a few words of kindness are needed to give hope, only a simple gift is needed to create a smile, which even the most skilfull artist will never be able to mould in the most precious material found in this world.

The deepeness of Dhamma - how could it be found in a statue, made only special through man made values, concepts and attitudes, even if we lable it a 'Golden Buddha'?

(Written for a friend with a precious statue and a more precious heart)