An Audience with Buddha
By ice rivers
My search for the wisdom of Buddha had been long and perilous. I finally got my audience in a strange place.
The senior center had arranged a field trip to Concord in order to visit the famous antique mall. Before we left for our adventure, our guide gave each of us an orabge wrist bad that had the phone number of the Northern Regional Recreational Center in case we got lost and were found again.
The mall used to be the Concord Mill where hundreds of workers had produced thousands of sheets beginning in 1899. The Mill finally closed down in 2003. Entrepreneurs bought the space in 2003 and transrformed the mill into a mall full of booths each booth containing antiques and collectibles I roamed throughout the mall, sensing the ghostly spirits of sheetmakers past.
I lost track of space and time amongst the thousands of mementoes from the past.
I kept coming back to a booth built around an antique Buddha. The Buddha was drawing me.
I decided to reach out, although I'm not sure it was a decision....more of a compulsion. Are compulsions decisions?
I could resist the Buddha call no longer. I entered the unexpected temple.
I lifted the Buddha into my arms. He was heavier than I thought. I had one shot. I asked the question that I needed help with as I have become oversubscribed to material things and memories.
"Master", I asked, if my house were on fire and I could only remove one item to save from the blaze what should I choose?"
The Buddha spoke to me in a soft voice that only I could hear.
Turns out Buddha was not only wise but had a sense of humor.
"If your house is on fire and you can remove only one thing, remove the fire."
Remove the fire.
"What should I do after I remove the fire? Where should I put it?"
" Put the fire in your heart and use it when you write."
A fire in my heart. Good one.
"But won't that give me heartburn? What should I do with that?"
Buddha answered with a smile and a question of his own.
"Do you have any antacid?"
I assured him that I always kept some antacid near my bed just in case.
"Take it" , he said, "then call me in the morning."