Although I am a Christian by birth and a Lutheran by baptism, I tend to follow many different Buddhist concepts and precepts. I am by no means an authoritarian in Buddhism, but I read a little bit in college history classes, several books by the current Dali Lama and one or two “Buddhism for Idiots” type books. I found that through a large portion of my reading that there is not so much 'judgment of others' in Buddhism.
I sometimes get discouraged with Christianity when I read or am told about how some folks are going to hell because they aren’t this or that sect of Christianity. Not to start a debate but I can’t even begin to fathom the fact that while sitting at dinner one night a very devout Christian told me the Dali Lama was a great read but was on the fast track to hell because he wasn’t a Christian. Even with his “works” as he called it, even with his openness to all people, his kindness to the world and his teachings of forgiveness and charity the man was still going to hell. I just don’t get that and I honestly believe that God (my God anyway) would not send such a kind, honest and caring man to hell.
So to get to the real point of this, my husband called this morning to say hello and tell me about the gift he bought the house and me. He starts describing this small 1 ½ by 2 foot wooden casing, that opens up to show a small, brass Tibetan style Buddha in it. It’s a small shrine used in the home to be set up in an alcove or some other small niche for meditation and prayer. After he finishes describing this beautiful, ornate shrine, he tells me about haggling for the shrine. Half way through the story he says, “…the closing bell of the bazaar rings and I tell the shop keeper that I have only $40 in my pocket for the portable Buddha…” I spit my drink, shook my head, laughing. “What did you call it?” I asked. He repeated it, “Portable Buddha.”
“Honey!” I say using my admonishing voice, “You can’t call a shrine a portable Buddha. That’s just wrong, really really wrong.” He laughs and tells me that since he can pick it up and move it around the house its deemed portable. I drop my head into my hand propped up on the desk, shaking my head giggling and thinking about what kind of trouble we could get into for making fun of a god of another religion. He then tells me about the portable Vishnu he saw as well but that it looks a bit more like Ghenesh one of the gods Apu from the Simpson’s talks about and prays to. Using his best Apu voice he says, “Ghenesh is not amused.”
In between fits of giggles I tell him he better stop because if we aren’t going to hell for not going to church more than twice a year we sure as shootin’ would for coining the phrases “portable Buddha” and “portable Vishnu.” Let’s anger only one religion at a time please I ask. He promises me not refer to either Vishnu or Buddha as being portable but would take free reign on the fictitious Ghenesh.