The Buddha in London-towne
I'm in London this week and around it next, giving a series of book talks and interviews about Enlightenment Ain't. I've only been here a couple of days, but find myself struck with the energy of the place, and its multi-culturalism. Its almost odd to hear British English being spoken, its so rare, but maybe that's because i ride the tubes and the busses.
There’s a healthy liveliness in the city that you’d like. I suppose I have to admit I find it somewhat exciting, mostly because it seems energetic.
I stumbled across a huge Buddha pagoda here…
the Peace Pagoda, in Battersea Park in South London. Odd to see the four 10 foot high Buddhas on each corner, right in the middle of London. One is meditating, a second standing in fear not pose, another in turning the wheel pose and of course a parinirvana, complete with mourners both human and divine. The 4 phases of his teaching life, clearly. It seems so amazingly out of place here, but I suppose that’s the point. The insertion of Buddha dharma in the middle of London! For most folks it’s a surd, I suppose, but pretty and striking enough and in the middle of things enough, that it … well just sits there.
In many ways, that’s how our lives are, we spiritual people. We stand outside the flow, are inserted in to the stream of life in our cities and towns. And we too stand as surds, reminders of what is not noticed, what is not said or felt. I suppose spirituality is always thus; we committed folks stand as beacons of the unsaid. Even in Eckhart’s time, the vision of living as a spark of the divine had to be said, again and again according to him, amidst the traders and farming peasants and manor lords and ladies. We are a busy species, getting and spending as we do, and Eckhart and the Buddha Pagoda stands as reminder reminders of what is neither. It’s the margins of life that provides the value, and we live there.
God bless the margins. Buddha bless the margins.