I got to eat lunch with a group of ten five and six year olds today at work.
The conversation was lively and animated.
Someone brought up the topic of Buddha, although the exact genesis of the conversation remains a mystery to me.
I am sitting like the Buddha.
Don't make fun of Buddha!!
Me: Friends, we are not making fun of each other or things that are important to other people, ok?
Who is Buddha?
Teacher M- is Buddha
Me: Teacher M is a Buddhist nun, not Buddha.
What is that?
Me: a person that greatly admires the wisdom & compassion of Buddha, and devotes her life to practicing how to be more like Buddha.
My dad is a Buddhist.
Hey! I could tell that because he is BALD like Teacher M!
Me: Being bald doesn't make you a Buddhist.
My dad's hair just fell out.
Me: sometimes people's hair falls out, and they are bald, but they are not Buddhist, and sometimes people with lots of hair are. Everyone is different and people admire different things. When people admire those kinds of things, sometimes they keep it private in their heart, and other times they choose to share it by wearing special colors or hair styles, or other things that show the world what is in their hearts. It is a matter of personal choice. Everyone is free to admire and devote his or her heart to what speaks to it, is that clear?
When I got home, I took my children out for an early, very unhealthful before dinner, dinner, for crinkle cut fries at a very old, old school Chinese cafe, before swimming & karate lessons: there happened to be a drawing of Buddha on the children's menu, and it was Deja vu all over again with Freyja.
Is Buddha Chinese?
Me: No, he was Indian.
So he had brown skin?
Me: Yes, at least browner than you and I.
Did Buddha speak English?
Me: Most certainly not. (Bootiful Princess goes to a language magnet school with Chinese and Spanish programs and she is very interested who speaks what and when).
Why do people like him? Is he a god?
Me: No, he is not exactly god, not in the way we think of G-d but he was a very wise and enlightened person, that people (including me) really admire. He had a lot of focus and self control, and compassion, which is hard to come by.
Why is does the dragon on Buddha's kite have his mouth open like that (in the drawing)?
Me: I dunno. Maybe the dragon is doing "lion's breath " yoga pose?
Freyja gets out of the booth and kneels on the floor of the filthy old restaurant and demonstrates the pose and the lion's tounge to the elderly patrons of the cafe.
I think that is what the dragon is doing. I think the dragon on the kite is doing that to make the Buddha feel happy and powerful. The Buddha really loves his dragon kite.
Me: That is an excellent guess, you might be right. Would you believe that your friends at my work were also talking about the Great Buddha today?
Me: Yes, yes! It is true!