Abby’s 4th grade class recently took a field trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In the Japanese Buddhist Garden, the students were asked to draw what they saw. In the foreground of the garden there were lots of leaves and foliage. Deep in the garden, there was a statue of the Buddha. Most of the other kids in the class drew the leaves. Abby drew the Buddha. She said that it reminded her of me. I couldn’t be more flattered.
What she wrote next to the picture was pure Zen. She wrote: The statue of Buddha is in the meditation Buddhist Temple and I believe it symbolizes peace and calmness, but it may not be calm at all.
Buddha looks calm, but he may not be calm at all. That is his mind. How could we know?
I asked Abby what she meant by he may not be calm at all. She said that he may be pretending to be calm, but he is really thinking other things.
That is the heart of Zen. You may be calm or thinking, sometimes even both. I think the Buddha was calm, especially in his statuesque rock form, but Abby’s interpretation was just right. He may be thinking. Buddha did that.