4 May


The magnificent Buddha statue in Bodhgaya that was believed to be carved in the Buddha’s likeness by a woman who actually beheld the golden face of the Buddha 

During this Wesak period, I thought it would be nice to blog about the Buddha. After all, he is the founder of the faith that I profess to believe in. I do recall when I was younger, I was very much attracted to Buddhism because it was pragmatic and the teachings seem to make sense to my simple mind. Much of its doctrine does not require one to have faith but the certain emphasis on suffering deterred me somewhat.


Keenu Reeves playing the role as the Buddha in the movie Little Buddha 

In the 90s, I came across the movie Little Buddha, starring Keanu Reeves, Chris Isaak and so forth. I recall watching the movie at my aunt’s place and she was Buddhist herself and so we were all watching the movie and I became tingling with excitement when I realised what it was all about. I have never seen the Buddha’s life depicted by Hollywood before and so, I stared transfixed to the TV set. Not even Keanu’s unconvincing portrayal of Siddharta deterred me from being transported back into time and into ancient India. For some strange reason, I was moved to tears and I didn’t know why. I couldn’t figure why would an Indian prince who renounce his fabulous princely life in order to be a mendicant and eventually enlightenment would fascinate me so much.

I met Rinpoche about 13 years ago, my ideas about the Buddha would radically change right after. Needless to say, I wasn’t Buddhist and one of the earliest things I told Rinpoche was “Don’t convert me.” Rinpoche’s response to me was, “What makes you think I want to convert you and what would Buddhism get if I converted you?” I laughed nervously and the rest was history. Somehow, I managed to get myself into my first little talk by Rinpoche and I was blown away. Rinpoche was able to shed so much light on Buddhism that I could not acquire from years of reading from some books and little ‘free distribution’ booklets here and there.


My favourite ancient Indian sculpture of the Buddha that is on display at Sarnath Museum. 

Unfortunately, I only recall only 2 aspects of the teaching that struct me, which was the fact that Rinpoche said he didn’t want students and that Buddhism was not founded on converting people forcibly (that’s why there’s no wars in the name of Buddhism) along with a statement Rinpoche quoted the Buddha that we should not take his teaching on face value and that we should examine it and adopt if it applies to us. I recalled leaving that night, determined to be a Buddhist. There you go and if it wasn’t for Rinpoche, I would probably be still fumbling spiritually and still looking for the light. Today, I am a Buddhist pastor and sharing the light and celebrating Wesak Day in remembrance of how I cam stumbling in.

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