Budai given by Tegan in Perth Australia to L.
As I set off for my second pilgrimage walk to the city I still hadn’t heard how Julie and Itir had gone with sharing their buddhas and I was keen to see the reflections they had promised to write.
But on this day I was travelling alone with 10 little buddhas. When I got to the city square I I was engulfed by the loud music of a Christian rock band on stage and worshippers filling the steps ….then it dawned on me that it was Good Friday!
So instead I headed to the art gallery nearby to see the beautiful, ancient Chinese Kuan Yin that was is intrinsically linked for me to faith. I stayed transfixed on her form for so long the security guard started to swing by regularly. Did the kesa around my neck make me someone to keep an eye on? This time there was no mystical experience like I had on my first viewing 20 years ago but just a deep knowing that she was still guiding me.
Where would my little buddha end up today?
I am already noticing it is a subtle process that involves putting down any gross act of choosing and listening to the world in way whereby someone chooses you.
So I started heading off to another part of the central city to see if I could find a Chinese temple I had heard about where you could get a meal and have the opportunity to sit in a lovely shrine room to meditate. Many people were out enjoying the Easter holiday but for the homeless it was another day as usual trying to make ends meet. I passed about 4 people with their cardboard signs out but wasn’t drawn to stop.
Then I saw a young man setting up his blanket, a crate of few possessions and some beautiful woven bracelets that he makes to sell. As I passed by I noticed his sign said something like ‘I don’t have many things but I do have hope.’
My step slowed but I didn’t stop until a couple of hundred metres up the footpath. I turned and watched him for some time. I was reflecting on why I drawn to him and had yet walked past the others. I just knew I had to go back.
Maybe this sense of ‘knowing’ comes from the beautifully simple act of giving time to walking out into the world with just the wish to connect with kindness.
As I approached him I knelt down and unwrapped my bag of 10 Buddhas saying,
‘I have something to give you but I am not sure if you will want it.’
As his eyes took in that they were Buddhas he gave the biggest smile saying ,’Wow this is a sign. A lovely lady gave me a Buddha just days ago. ”
I asked, ‘ Was her name Julie or Itir?’
‘Yes, Julie! ‘ He told me what a lovely person she was and how they had a great conversation which he really enjoyed.
He happily chose his buddha from my pocket- a green laughing buddha Budai/Hotei, a figure based on a Chinese monk believed to be an incarnation of Maitreyi, the Buddha of the future. We talked about the cloth sack at Budai’s feet, a symbol of abundance ,and the ball in his hand a symbol of playfulness and delight. He seemed very happy with his choice.
We chatted a little more and he told me he had just been moved on from doorway where he usually slept. He knew it was because his presence didn’t do that businesses’ image any favours. He said it was sometimes hard for people to see him as a human being. In the new place he found to sleep he had been robbed of the bag his possessions were carried in so instead a crate was doing the job for now. He never once asked for anything from me but he appreciated the small amount I gave him to go towards a new bag.
And then he wanted to know more about the Akshobya and Budai and what their qualities were.
As I left this lovely young man I had a strong sense that our paths would cross again.
What are the chances in a city of 4 million people that two Buddhas would find their way into the hands of this hopeful young man?
Two buddhas given by generous hands in the UK and Perth ended up just where they needed to be.