Chapter 3: The Halo of Yakushi-Buddha
In the middle of the night the priest suddenly heard a noise. He came running and could not believe his eyes. The monk was sitting around a fire which he had made inside the temple - and one Buddha statue was missing.
In Japan they make wooden statues of Buddhas.
The priest asked, “Where is the statue?”
The master showed him the fire and he said, “I was shivering and it is very cold.”
The priest said, “You seem to be mad! Don’t you see what you have done? It was a Buddha statue. You have burned Buddha!”
The master looked in the fire, which was disappearing, and poked the fire with a stick.
The priest asked, “What are you doing?”
He said, “I am trying to find the bones of the Buddha.”
The priest said, “You are certainly mad. It is a wooden Buddha, there are no bones in it.”
Then the monk said, “The night is still long and it is getting even colder. Why not bring these two other Buddhas too?”
Of course, he had to be thrown out of the temple immediately - this man was dangerous!
When he was being thrown out he said, “What are you doing? - throwing a live buddha out for a wooden Buddha? The alive buddha was suffering so much, I had to show compassion. And if Buddha were alive he would have done the same. He would himself have given all those three statues to me. I know it. I know it from my very heart that he would have done the same!”
But who was there to listen to him? He was thrown out into the snow and the doors were closed.
In the morning, when the priest went out, he saw the master sitting near a milestone with a few flowers on top of it, worshipping it. The priest came again and said, “What are you doing now? Worshipping a milestone?”
The master said, “Whenever the time to pray comes, I create my Buddhas anywhere, because they are always all around. This milestone is as good as your wooden Buddhas inside the temple!”
It is a question of attitude. When you look with worshipful eyes, then anything becomes divine.