I discussed religion a while ago and my opinon of it has not changed during this adventure, it can be a good thing for some people, it can be used to prey on the weak, it can be used for extortion and it can change people’s lives both for the good and the bad. My stand as you should know is try to respect somebodies religion even if I don’t agree with it and if the worst comes to the worst just disengage from that person. During my time in Asia I have seen so many statues of Buddha, some of which make the God look androgynous so I am going to go right out there and say that Buddha could be male or female (send all hate mail to my previous address). Either way they tend to depict the god in only a few ways. Most of the time you will see Buddha looking serene and I guess enlightened, at peace with the surrounding, deep in meditation, these statues are usually the most androgynous looking. The other way is of a jolly fat man, the symbolic big bellied figure that so many of us in the west tend to think of as Buddha, the significance here for me is the happiness that Buddha portrays.
The picture above is of a huge happy Buddha statue in Dalat, just looking and being near this statue bought a smile to my face and I wondered why every image of Jesus or the western God that I can remember has never been smiling like this. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong as I would love to see either worshipped figure looking happy. There must of been a time during his lifetime (that’s if he existed at all) where he smiled or laughed, I find it difficult to believe that a human being can spend that long on this planet and never be happy. On top of that if he was happy why is he always depicted in sadness and torment? The catholic church are known for their followers who took it upon themselves to use flagellation and this is something else I will never understand. Why remember the bad when you can remember the good?
I’m not trying to tell anyone that worships any form of God that they are doing it wrong, it is their choice after all. Allah, Buddha, God, Jesus, Gaia it’s all the same to me and my brain cannot accept that these Gods exist, let alone so many of them. I’m just saying that if I was going to worship some entity then it would be one was depicted as a happy smiling creature. There is even laughter yoga which is from Indian tradition and might be a bit too happy clappy hippy for me. However, I believe laughter is a good way to heal and a smile breaks down barriers, so whichever religion you do or do not worship remember to laugh and smile, its a good workout for the face and it spreads happiness.