Monday, August 22, 2011

The Day the Buddha Went Swimming

While we were on our trip to New York State we visited a small park in one of the many forests of the Adirondack Mountains. As our kids were swimming in a cold creek, I went wandering in the woods. I had heard that this was a place where Wiccans like to occasionally get together so I didn't know what I might find.

After a short stroll I came across something I wasn't expecting. Instead of Wiccan paraphernalia I found a small statue of the Buddha. He looked like what you see in this picture except that he was blue in color, only about four inches tall, and attached to a piece of concrete (like the top section of a cinder block). I wasn't sure what to do with it.

On the one hand a four inch statue of the Buddha is simply that. It was plastic sitting on top of concrete. There was nothing alive about it. I could have left it there and it would have never done anything except very slowly decay over thousands of years. The Buddha is not alive and neither was that statue.

On the other hand, the statue did represent what has become a false god. Although the Buddha himself did not desire to be worshiped, he nonetheless now has millions of followers around the globe. When we as a family briefly visited Thailand during our few months in India, we saw cultures trapped in the grip of this false religion. Near our own city in India (Varanasi), Buddhists would pilgrimage to see the Dhamekh Stupa, a large brick structure built where the Buddha may have preached his first sermon.

As I stood in the woods I had to decide what, if anything, to do with the statue. I did not want any young people to find it and become intrigued by Buddhism because of it. It wasn't the statue itself but the curiosity it might bring about that concerned me. After all, any world religion competes directly with Jesus Christ for Lordship over the human heart.

What could I do with it in that situation? I decided it was time for the Buddha to go swimming. After scanning the area for a good spot, I tossed the statue as far as I could under a small waterfall. My hope is that it landed in a spot where the current is too strong for anyone to find it.

God does not need us to defend Him against petty false religions. On the other hand, we have the responsibility to share the gospel and tell of the dangers of false belief systems. The Buddha statue represents a challenge for the devotion God deserves from all people. I hope this particular image of Buddha remains where he is, never to be seen again.

8 comments:

adubhigg said...

One question:
What do you think motivated you to move the statue to the water?

I ask this as purely as I can...I would have had a different reaction to the presence of the figure and I am curious, as a fellow Christian, for your thoughts.

To answer my own question, I would not have moved the statue because:
1) I feel that its presence in a remote location is not a threat to curious, naive minds
2) Moving it is an offense beyond the cross between non-Christians and believers
3) Truth, as typified by Christianity, will defend itself against error without us.

Eric said...

adubhiig,

Thanks for commenting.

In this post I never mentioned which park we visited, so how can you know that is was "in a remote location"? Therefore, how can you draw the conclusion that "its presence in a remote location is not a threat to curious, naive minds"?

lovesufjan said...

I have to agree with the first poster. The way I see it is that we have many other false idols in this world, and just because they are not statues does not make them less harmful. I am sure your TV is not in a remote area. Would you throw that out the window so not to hinder your family's walk with Christ. Would you do the same thing to a statue of mother Mary, or a statue of one of the saints.
PS. I don't know if you even own a TV, and was not trying to be offensive

Aussie John said...

Eric,

Such representations of falsehood are repulsive to me. If the statue was neither in someone's private address,or, in the presence of someone, it would have received the same fate from me.

In those circumstances the removal could offend no one. After all, a Buddhist could have taken it.

David Suchet, the actor, is correct when he says,".... that Christianity is being marginalised in Britain because people are more concerned about not offending other faiths.

The 63-year-old, most famous for playing the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, said Britain risks losing the importance of Christianity in our multi- cultural society."

That is certainly happening elsewhere, often at the behest of those claiming to be Christian.

Eric said...

lovesufjan,

Thanks for commenting.

The Buddha was a real idol. millions worship this false god. I've seen it myself in India and Thailand. If I can help one person not become curious about it, then I'll toss away an abandoned statue in a forest. Remember, this belonged to no one and no Buddhists were present.

As for TV, I agree that it has become as idol to many. That's why we don't have a cable TV subscription.

As for statues of Mary or the saints, the ones I see here and there clearly belong to a Catholic church nearby or the person in whose yard the statue sits. I'm not going to steal.

We must not be so fearful to offend others that Christianity turns into some sort of pathetic-seeming belief system.

Eric said...

John,

Agreed. Many Christians act as if they are pluralists even if they actually are not.

Joe G. said...

How much have you studied Buddhism?

Eric said...

Joe,

Why do you ask?