Today’s Daily Prompt didn’t appeal to me, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on Jesus under the Bodhi Tree instead.
Yes, I meant to write that..and no, I got my facts right 🙂 Buddha is known to have sat under the Bodhi tree and achieved enlightenment..and Jesus..well, at least we have no record of him sitting under a Bodhi tree. And yet, there is this:
This is a piece that covers a whole wall in St.Antony’s Church here in Bangalore. I’ve been passing this Jesus for over 2 years now and was never inclined to sit and talk to Him when He’s sitting like that..all I could say was, “Seriously, Jesus?? What were they thinking when they made this piece of art?” I assumed the artist was making Jesus relatable to the Indian demographic, but whatever his intention, it wasn’t working for me.
Then yesterday, I dropped by the church and decided to spend some time with this Jesus under the Bodhi Tree.
My attempts at a monologue directed at Him would be interrupted every now and then by an observation made..like,
1. Hmmm..This artpiece doesn’t assume Jesus came to India in His lifetime. (There’s a tale of how Jesus swam to India and resurfaced here as a holy man called Ayappan, just FYI)
Because in this image, Jesus has nail-pierced hands- which means it’s the resurrected-Jesus. Resurrected-Jesus kept His nail piercings so that doubting Thomases could poke and believe.
Which made me ask Jesus “Why would you come sit under a Bodhi tree after you resurrected? You obviously didn’t need enlightenment as You already are God and know it. It isn’t like You to mock the Buddha.” So, I decided to read up on Jesus and Buddhism later, and when I did, I found that Jesus was probably acquainted with Buddhist teachings in His time, before His ministry. Buddhism, along with Zoroastrianism had in all likelihood made their way to Judaea where Jesus was growing up. We know from the Gospels that Jesus as a 12 year old was very interested in preaching and learning more about God- it seems like Him to study scriptures of other religions too.
So, now I think it’s cool that the church approved this image of a Jesus embracing some Buddhism. Makes Christianity look like a faith that embraces all that is good; a beautiful way to be catholic in it’s approach. (Even if that might not be the intent of the church art-approver)
My other observations didn’t lead to deeper thinking, but I’ll still list them.
2. Those hands. Unless Jesus’ wrist snapped on the cross and he left it dangly after resurrection, it isn’t very possible to position human hands like that. I came home and tried. See –
Not possible. Also, can you see how uncomfortable that arm positioning made me? My arms are still aching as I type. (I had a 10 sec timer on, and this was my 5th attempt. Therefore, 50 seconds of retarded posing.)
3. I don’t think it was smart of the artist to make the hands like that. It distracts from prayer. Or maybe it’s just me. I think I’ve seen some video game character shoot balls of fire or balls of something dangerous from his hands with hands poised just like Jesus’ here. So I can’t help but think Jesus is playing a game with someone.
JESUS: Hey Judas, my favourite traitor, watch out!! And PSHUUUU *BALL OF FIREEE!*
If Jesus did do that, you have my word that Jesus would heal Judas of his burns and then make peace over some wine and from then on it would be a cheap thrill for Jesus to just go and scare the shit out of Judas by making twisty fire-shooting hands at him. Haha! I would totally do that.
4. After I spoke to Jesus for a while, I got tired of Him closing his eyes all the while that I was talking. I told Him that isn’t a very nice thing to do in social interactions.
And then I thought this could be Jesus idea of a joke. I do think He has a sense of humor. I’m sure sometimes He just needs a laugh. It’s got to be tough, and annoying to be God to the whole world- especially our world. Have you seen the kind of whining, stupidity, horribleness and lots of other crappy things we’re capable of?
So if this Jesus is being funny, I thought it’s very possible the actual Jesus is sitting behind that tree listening to all of us talk to the decoy-Buddhist-poser-Jesus. That allows Him to be on a long leash when on duty, right?
I’d do that if I were Him. I certainly wouldn’t sit in that twisty ankle and wrist position. OR have my eyes closed- you can’t trust passers-by these days. Have you seen the kind of horribleness and lots of other crappy things- we’re capable of? Oh right, I said that already. Time to end this.
Until next time,
May the peace of my Buddhist Jesus be with you.