A moonlit night | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 19, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 19, 2019

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A moonlit night

There is a mystical connection — Buddhism and the full moon! The tenets of a religion, a philosophy of life, is as beautiful as nature itself. Today, 19 February, 2019 the Buddhist community of Bangladesh celebrates Maghi Purnima, commemorating the time when Gautama Buddha announced his impending death. It is believed that the earth shuddered with a massive earthquake as soon as the words were spoken. But along with this came some wise words —

“Death is inevitable, so it is not proper to grieve over it. You should practice religion with conviction; only then will you conquer sorrow by crossing over this world of birth, infirmity, disease and death.”

While our brethren observe this auspicious day, we can all learn from the teachings of Buddha to develop our inner strength and empower ourselves to overcome all sorrows.

 

 

Buddha in my garden

 

“My years are now full ripe, the life span left is short.

Departing, I go hence from you, relying on myself alone."

I can only imagine how his disciples felt when Gautama Buddha announced his impending death, how his followers took the news regarding the man they loved so dearly would no longer be among them.

But true to his word, at about the age of 80, he left this world to attain Parinirvana.

The day he foretold about his death is commemorated annually as Maghi Purnima, which, this year, is today, 19 February, 2019. Buddhists observe this day with great reverence, paying respect for the great Buddha.  

I am not a spiritual person by any means, I should admit. My world is a material one, where I mostly care about making my bank balance a little healthier, where I am trapped in lust and greed and consumerism, as I only crunch numbers and fake-smile my way through life.  But even I — in my hopelessly imperfect life which is far from away peace and nirvana — cannot help but feel hope when I come across Buddha.  

I turn to Buddha when life becomes too cruel. I seek solace in his sayings and find inspiration from his life when mine becomes unbearable. The Buddha sculptures in my home help me unwind; they remind me of this great man and his incredible spiritual journey.

Buddha garden as a concept is amazing. Placing the statues in various spots in a garden only adds to its aesthetics. And to me, personally, the sight of the ever-so-peaceful Buddha amidst greenery and flowers is a heart-touching one.  

If one has a full-fledged garden, great. But even if one does not, a sort of 'mini-garden' can be created indoors — in a corner of the living room, a windowsill, or the veranda. With Buddhism related artworks, plants, and a little flair and care, a small section of the house can be turned into your spot for relaxation and meditation — something far more than interior decor.

After all, the statues remind me of the incredible life of Buddha. When I look at his face and see the elongated earlobes, it tells me that he was born as a prince.

Wearing jewelled, heavy earrings was the norm of the affluent, and that's why, his earlobes had become permanently stretched in artistic depictions.   

This reminds me that even Buddha — Prince Siddhartha, that is — tasted luxury and the material world before he gave them up to become ascetic to find true meaning. 

Thus, a Buddha garden is not all about art and decor, but also of iconography. An example would be the lotus over which a Buddha figure is often placed: "The spirit of the best men is spotless, like the new Lotus in the muddy water which does not adhere to it,” a Buddhist dictum goes.

Another iconic imagery we see is the posture commonly known as the reclining Buddha, where he is shown lying down — the representation of the historic moment when Buddha left this world.

And this, he had foretold, announcing his impending death, which we observe today as Maghi Purnima.  

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

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