The Golden Buddha

In 1957, a group of Tibetan monks were informed that a highway was being built and the highway would have to go through the location where the shrine for which they were responsible was currently located. The shrine, a huge clay Buddha, would have to be moved. Arrangements were made and the day of shrine moving arrived. The shrine, located under a roof to keep it safe from the elements, was prepared for its journey. A crane began lifting the clay Buddha. The Buddha, as it rose off of its block resting place, began to crack. IT was far heavier than all the engineers had estimated. The monk supervising the movement of the Buddha frantically called to the crane operator. Telling him to set the Buddha down. Quickly, the alert crane operator carefully set the Buddha on the ground. As the monks and the engineers examined the Buddha, they found several large cracks. A larger crane would be needed. That crane would not be brought in until the next day. The Buddha would have to spent the night in its current location. To make matters worse, there was a storm building and the next would be a stormy one.

The monks covered the Buddha with water proof tarps on poles to keep it dry overnight. All seemed to be well. During the night, the head monk awoke and decided to check on the Buddha. With a flashlight, the monk carefully checked the condition of the Buddha. As he walked around the huge clay figure shining his light on the cracks, something caught his eye. He returned to the spot on which he had just shined his light. He peered into the crack. What he saw he did not understand. He needed to see more. He went back to his quarters, found a chisel and a hammer and returned to the Buddha. He began carefully chipping at the clay around the crack. As the crack widened, he could not believe his eyes. He ran to wake the other monks and instructed each to bring a hammer and chisel. By lantern light the monks carefully chipped all the clay from the Buddha. After hours of chiseling, the monks stepped back and stared in awe at the sight before them. There, in front of the monks, stood a solid gold Buddha.

When the moving crew arrived later that morning to complete the job of moving the Buddha to its new location, there was much confusion and excitement. Where had the clay Buddha gone? From where had the Golden Buddha come? The monks explained. Historians were called and research was begun to discover the origin of the Golden Buddha.

After much research, the pieces of the story were put together. The Golden Buddha was the cherished responsibility of a group of monks several centuries earlier. These monks received word that the Burmese army was headed their way. Concerned that the invading army would loot the shrine for its Golden Buddha, the monks covered their Buddha with 8 to 12 inches of clay. When they were finished the Golden Buddha appeared to be a Buddha of clay. The invading army would surely have no interest. The monks were correct. The invading army had no interest in the Buddha. They did, however, kill all the monks before they moved on. The Golden Buddha was lost in history until 1957.

There is a Golden Buddha inside each of us. Hidden away and covered with layers and layers of clay. We start out life as a true Golden Buddha. Then our true self gets put on a shelf and we get involved in the survival game. We each begin to lose our true drive and we lose sight of the gifts each of has to offer.

The Golden Buddha story gives us tools we can use every day - the flashlight, the chisel and the hammer. The flashlight represents the power of our individual vision. The hammer represents the power of our individual level of responsibility. The hammer represents the power of our individual sense of team that will get each of us on our road to success. The team we each have available to us are those individuals whom we know are committed to us unconditionally - our true friends and family.

(Adapted from Chicken Soup For The Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen)