Buddha Walks Into a Church and ….
Whenever a Westerner travels to “the East” they are invariably drawn to places of the Buddhist or Hindu religion whether they are in India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Japan or China. Mostly for photographic opportunity, including the selfie holding up the temple or sitting with the Buddha, but rarely for religious or history reasons. Very few would think to understand the mythical significance of Swayambhu or the historical significance of Boudha, both in Nepal. Even fewer know about the stupa dome shape, or that there are actually not one but EIGHT forms of stupa shape, each with a different significance in Buddhism. And how about the hand positions of the Buddha, what do they all mean? Look at some of the differences in Buddhist stupas below and can you match them to the graphic at the top of this post?
I do wonder sometimes if these travellers ever think to visit their own religious buildings and places local to where they live, churches, chapels, synagogues, cathedrals, abbeys. We recently visited a dozen or so local churches, all within a 10 miles radius of our home, and found Norman, medieval and gothic architecture, the oldest font in England, the largest collection of stained glass in the UK, wall paintings dating back to the Norman conquest, churches divorced from their villages because of The Black Death, spires, bell towers, crenellations, and tombstones of paupers, ordinary folk and of aristocracy. So as you browse the photos below from our local area in The Cotswolds, UK, consider “what would Buddha ask if he visited these churches shown below in England?”
So, what questions did you come up with?