The Blessings of Lord Buddha
Recently my brother, Andrew, visited me from UK. On the second day of his visit I took him to see the Big Buddha on Lantau Island. We decided to take the cable car from Tung Chung.
As we arrived in Tung Chung the weather did not look very promising. It was decidedly cloudy, with heavy, low, black and gray clouds covering the whole sky & hiding the tops of the mountains. “Should we continue?” we both wondered? But we decided to stick to the plan.
Nevertheless, once we ascended towards the top of the Lantau mountains I really thought this was a bad move! We entered a thick cloud, so dense we could not see anything, not even the trees 20 metres away!
I thought to myself – this is going to be an interesting visit to the Big Buddha!
But as the cable car reached Ngong Ping Village an amazing thing happened. The area where the Big Buddha was, the village and the Po Lin monastery, were totally free of cloud. There was blue sky! All around the edges of the village we could see a layer of thick cloud encircling Ngong Ping. But over the Big Buddha was beautiful clear sky!
Taken with my camera: the cloud around the edge of Ngong Ping village but clear sky overhead!
I remarked to my brother, “The blessings of Lord Buddha!”
But I am a Christian Priest, so I guess I don’t believe in Buddhist miracles. But why not? If miracles can be ascribed to prayer to Christ and to the God of Christians, why cannot they be ascribed to Buddha? Surely there is a oneness to whatever is behind our existence?
But how do we square this? And what is a miracle? And does it really matter?
My personal problem with miracles is how myopic, and narrow-visioned and often trivial they seem to be. I mean, if God can cause the clouds to keep away from the Big Buddha why couldn’t God divert the tornado from Moore, Oklahoma, and save the lives of the children who died that day?
What sort of priorities does this way of thinking say about God? It seems to me to make God look pretty mean and random!
I think we want to believe in miracles because it gives us hope that we are not alone or not forsaken by God. However, if we think more deeply then I believe we will know that we are never alone. We do not need to witness miracles to know that. Maybe we just need to close our eyes and sense God’s deep, loving presence with us. Or maybe we just need to open our eyes and see God's presence all around us, in the beauty of people and the world.
So are there miracles? Are there times when the laws of the universe are suspended by God? I cannot answer that!! I know many good people whose lives have been transformed because of what they sensed was a miracle from God. But personally, I don’t think faith is based on such things. For me the universe and what we know of it, is the greatest miracle.
Life is amazing and wonderful and perhaps the greatest miracle is that you and I are here!
Mark Rogers, 24/05/2013