When Buddha Smiles

My relationship with God has always been complicated. In the words of Five for Fighting, “I only talk to God when somebody is about to die.”

Growing up, I’ve seen frescos of Jesus in Russian Orthodox churches and yes, given that we grew up without practically any religious education, I wasn’t inspired to receive it. The man that was looking down at me made me want to repent more than trust him. And I understand that there’s a whole philosophy behind why it is the way it is, and why he looks the way he looks, and what you’re supposed to feel in church.

Yet still I’ve always relied on a greater power. I like to believe that there’s something bigger and smarter than all of us that has been keeping me safe, helping me when I needed help, teaching me when I needed a lesson and generally watching over me. I’m grateful for the magical moments of synchronicity that made me go, “Oh My God!” and take a moment to ponder this greater power.

In Thailand, I was very curios to visit a Buddhist temple and see what it feels like. I have this thing about feeling what it feels like in churches of all confessions. Maybe because it goes with my general idea that all churches are basically a portal and they help people get on the same wave length with the universe.

But in Thailand, for the first time I was up close and person with a giant golden Buddha. I came closer to look into his golden eyes and realized that he was smiling. And every other Buddha in the room was smiling too. Not like a crazy happy smile, but a “you are ok, I am ok” smile. And yes, I understand that it is part of the philosophy but it was comforting to know that you are treated like a person worth smiling at by default.

The experience didn’t make me a Buddhist. But I still like to think that whatever universal power, God or man, or even self, has a presence in our lives, it’s happy.



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