Last summer, as I was having a walk in Ajaccio, a town in Corsica, I entered a decoration shop by chance. It was a bit like Ali Baba’s cave: candles, African statues, South-American tools, Russian dolls… In a corner, I found a group of dusty buddhas. They looked at me with their peaceful and disdainful eyes.
Looking for Buddha
I had been looking for a Buddha for a long time but it’s difficult to find a Buddha of your own, a Buddha made for you. A
Buddha is not just some decoration on a mantlepiece; it is someone else, a being who whatches you and knows your intimacy. You can’t buy any Buddha. Most of the buddhas I had seen in shops were too large or too common, too sad, too flashy and they sometimes even had odd eyes which made me feel uncomfortable. Moreover, having a Buddha at home has become really usual to many snobbish Paris dwellers (like me?). Each left-wing Paris bourgeois must have a Buddha in his lounge! So, every decoration shop is plenty of copies of buddhas. During the eighties the trend was to exhibit a fake fruit-tree in your living-room, now it is the Buddha fashion! So I really wanted to find my Buddha, the Buddha which is different from the others.
I was in Corsica to spend summer holidays, to have sun, sea and rest and I left with a Buddha! In this unexpected shop, in the middle of exotic knick-knacks, I found him! Or her? Look!
Look at my Buddha carefully. Don’t you think he’s wearing a sari and has lipstik on his mouth? Very ambiguous! I knew feminine Buddhas were not uncommon. One tells that Buddha can be represented both as a man or a woman. For example, last year when I went to Thailand, I met this wonderful satue of a walking Buddha with womanlike shapes and girly features. It was in Sukhothai, one of the most beautiful and quietest places on Earth!
But the most famous feminine Buddha is Tara or Mahatara. She is mostly worshipped in Tibet and she symbolises motherhood, wisdom and compassion. Her origins are in India, of course, the cradle of Buddhism. Some people say she was born from Durga. Or whatever! There are plenty of Taras. They have different colours. I’m not a buddhist and I don’t know buddhism very well; it is a real headache to understand all that!
Trendy trustful Buddha
But anyway, my Buddha doesn’t seem to be a woman. He is just ambiguous. He bears both sexes in himself a bit like the Buddha from Sukhothai. He has feminine features because the author wanted it to.
Anyway, I think this Buddha was for me. First of all because it was made in India, out of Indian wood. Secondly, he is fashionable! His dress is pink, lined with gold, tiny mirrors and red beads. I love his gear! Both hippie and elegant! Very trendy! Finally, his face is not disturbing but calm and thoughtful. He has got a usual position, he is touching the Earth to ask her to witness his enlightment. It’s the Bhumisparsha Mudra. He is about 45 cms high. After searching on the Internet, I can say he is of the Sukhothai type: He’s got golden hair with tiny curls and a long flame of hair at the top of his head. He is half smiling. He has got long earlobes because Buddha used to be wealthy and wore huge expensives jewels. When he renounced wealth, he took off his earrings but his ears kept the same shape. However, I think my Buddha has not renounced to beautiful rich fabric to make his clothes!
I’m delighted with my enlightened ambiguous Buddha!