Today is a special day. It’s Buddha pournima – the night of prince Siddhartha’s metamorphosis into the Buddha (the awakened one). It’s a day of celebration – for a man who graduated with honours on a decidedly singular path and became a trailblazer for the millions who followed him.
Note that the Buddha Pournima is considered by many as the day of his enlightenment (today of course its celebrated by many as “the day of the Buddha” which represents his birth, enlightenment and death all together \). How many people do we know are honoured for a happening in their lives? I can only think of Christ, whose day of crucification is honoured as the day of deliverence around the world.
Celebrating an event in the life of a human being thousands of years later is indeed special. If this is replicated on the material plane (as opposed to the spiritual plane) –we would perhaps have an apple day (the day the mac was released), a burger day (the day the golden arches flipped their first burger) and a mass-motor day (when Ford released those black cars?)
Back to the holy Buddha pournima day – the moon saw an individual flower into something akin God this day 2500 years or so ago – and while I cannot present her an encore today – I thought I’d share a few notes on a couple of books that honour the phenomenon called the Buddha, albeit in very non-traditional ways.
The first is the Buddha Manga in 8 volumes by Ozamu Tezuka. A Manga is a Japanese Comic book populated by whimsical characters. Ozamu notes the Wikipedia (running out of breath as it spells out the amazingly gifted man’s repertoire) was a Japanese cartoonist, manga artist, animator, producer, activist and medical doctor( although he never practiced medicine). And his Buddha has won multiple Eisner Awards (which are apparently the equivalent of the Comic Oscar awards).
The book is irreverent, hard-hitting and yet true to the story of this awesome man. And it’s edgy and fun. And the characters sport great hairstyles too. Take a look at some of the pictures – if you want fun and englightenment – (ok at least the fun, for now) – please take a look at this site and pick up a copy.
The second is an awesome interpretation of the “Heart Sutra” in a book titled “The Arrow to the Heart”. The Hearth Sutra is revered as one of Buddhism’s most authoritative titles. In fact, the spiritual essence of the Buddha’s Dhammapada is available in all its glory in the miniature “Heart Sutra” (only …lines) per many Buddhists.
Ken McLeod’s interpretation (he calls it experiential) is very cool – you have poetry, prose and wisdom extraordinarily packaged. You’ll find inspirations from a very wide set of srouces – ranging from Buddhist monks, Lewis carrol (from her Alice in wonderland) and even rocker, Bob Dylan! The format leads you to some “ah” moments – and this says Ken is what he set out to do. There’s a kindle version (the one I purchased) available – so take a look and may be you will flower into a Buddha in time for the moon’s visit next year.
I’ll leave you with a very inspirational piece of writing from Sadhguru jaggi Vasudev on Buddha’s experience on that momentous full-moon night thousads of years ago where the world witnessed the awakening of the Buddha.