The Golden Buddha
In the mid-1950’s, the leaders of Thailand decided to build a new highway into their largest city, Bangkok. The highway would pass through an area with relatively low population density where an old broken-down temple stood. The government purchased the property rights to the old temple and the surrounding grounds, and agreed to let a few local monks move a 500-year-old white stucco statue of Buddha to a safer location.
The stucco Buddha was absolutely immense in size and weight. It stood nearly 11 feet tall, with a 6-foot circumference, and weighed in at nearly 15,000 pounds. So the local monks worked with the government leaders to arrange for a large crane and transport to safely move the stucco Buddha from the old temple grounds to a new home on the other side of the city.
A couple weeks later, when the crane was actually in the process of moving the stucco Buddha, it was clear that everyone involved had miscalculated the statue’s weight and fragility. At one point, a turbulent wind gust forced the crane operator to bring the stucco Buddha back down to the ground with a hard thud. The massive idol cracked open in several places the moment it hit the ground, and the local monks screamed and pleaded for all crane operations to be halted for the day. Then, tarps were placed over the cracked statue to protect it from ensuing turbulent winds.
That evening, one of the monks was still very disturbed and couldn’t sleep a wink. So he put on his windbreaker and returned to the stucco Buddha with a lantern. He wanted to evaluate the damage to his sacred and holy idol. As he peered under one of the tarps and through a crack in the stucco, he noticed something odd buried several inches beneath the surface of the statue.
He picked up a mallet that the crane operator had left on the job site, and carefully chipped away at a small, loose piece of stucco that was wedged in the crack. When that loose piece of stucco eventually fell to ground, he peered through the now larger crack and was absolutely amazed by what he saw. So he returned to his monastery, woke up his fellow monks, and asked for their immediate assistance.
He told each of them to wear a windbreaker and bring a lantern and a mallet. Together, they returned to the stucco Buddha and, working against the winds, they began to chip away at the enormous sacred statue they and their ancestors had idolized and protected diligently for 20 generations.
When they completed their work the next morning, they all stood back in astonishment and gazed at what, together, they had worked tirelessly to uncover: their giant stucco Buddha statue wasn’t made of stucco at all. Instead, it was made of solid gold. And today, in the year 2020, the Golden Buddha—as it is now known—remains the largest known solid gold statue in the history of mankind.
In today’s dollars, just the price of the gold alone that makes up this behemoth of a Golden Buddha is worth more than $250,000,000.
Life’s Turbulent Winds
As Einstein so profoundly said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
Of course, there are dozens of life lessons we can gleam from the seemingly impossible true story of the giant Golden Buddha. But, at this moment, let’s just reflect on Einstein’s sentiment.
Reality is frequently inaccurate, and in the long run, the eyes see only what the mind is prepared to comprehend and discover.
We as a species are forever fighting through turbulent winds and chipping away at the layers of figurative stucco in our lives—layers of new truths hidden beneath old ones. And isn’t it funny how we can wrap our minds so tightly around things and fit them into our own version of reality? Sometimes for hundreds of years straight before we are forced to see things differently?
So, let that sink in right now. Life is a series of natural and evolving updates to what’s real. What we know to be true eventually changes, because time and growth both demand it. Don’t resist these changes; that only creates sorrow. Instead, choose to soar in life’s turbulent winds.
New Discoveries & Realities
Truth be told, sometimes you simply need to let go and accept the feeling of not knowing exactly why things happen the way they do, or where your journey is taking you. And you need to train yourself to appreciate this freedom. Because it is only when you are suspended in the air, with no clear destination in sight, that you force your wings—and your mind—to open fully so you can fly.
And as you soar around you still may not know where you’re traveling to. But that’s not what’s important. What’s important is the opening of your wings and mind. You may not know where you’re headed, but you know that so long as your wings are spread, and your mind alert, the turbulent winds of life will guide you forward to new discoveries and realities none of us can even fathom right now.
Courtesy : Marc Chernoff
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