What’s the draw? Face it-Buddha is a cool dude. Just sitting there all day with his head in heaven and still grounded in the earth. He’s enlightened, a role model for all. There’s big Buddhas and little Buddhas, reclining Buddhas, and fat, happy Buddhas and I’ve seen quite a few myself in my travels to Thailand, to Hong Kong, to Maui; there are Buddhas all over over…..heck there are two in my back yard now. I guess they are just cool to look at. Seeing someone so calm, even in a statue, kind of rubs off. Now, to become a Buddha, that’s the trick.
To become a Buddha one has to control the mind. Not an easy task, but a journey worth undertaking. On a trip to Hong Kong I was surprised to learn about the swastika, seen on the chest of Buddha. It is a very auspicious symbol, used by many cultures including Hindus, Chinese, and even Native Americans, and was even seen in caves 10,000 years ago.
(Only in the West has it gotten the bad connotation, associated with Hitler.) The word “swastika” comes from the Sanskrit svastika – “su” meaning “good,” “asti” meaning “to be,” and “ka” as a suffix. For the past 3,000 years the swastika meant life and good luck.
I’m not a Buddhist, but every great religion has roots that define what is right and good for all humans. For Buddhism, it is the Four Noble Truths:
1. The First Noble Truth
All beings, human and otherwise, are afflicted with all sorts of disappointments, sadness, discomfort, anxiety etc. In short they are subject to suffering.
2. The Second Noble Truth
The cause of this suffering is craving, born of the illusion of a ‘soul’
3. The Third Noble Truth
Suffering has a final end in the experience of Enlightenment (Nirvana), which is the complete destruction of delusion and the consequent ending of craving and ill will.
4. The Fourth Noble Truth
This peaceful and blissful Enlightenment is achieved through a gradual training, a path called the Middle Way, or the Eightfold Path.