An open letter to the Buddha Bandit

By Haven Lindsey  in  blog  on  10.15.2013

Dear Buddha Bandit,
I’m told when someone gives away or loses a representation of the Buddha, another one will appear. I had never given that statement much consideration until a few days ago. It reminds me of the saying,

                                       ‘ when the student is ready, the teacher appears’.

In this moment in time Buddha Bandit, you are my teacher and my wish is that someday you will be fortunate enough to be a student. I doubt you fully comprehend the depth of that wish, but understand it is the student who learns and grows, the student who has been given the opportunity and the student who holds the potential to change. The student is the fortunate one for the student is the recipient of limitless endowments.

When I arrived home last week, two days after you had been in my home, I discovered waiting for me a large, framed image of the Buddha. It turns out a friend of mine who had never discussed the various Buddha statues in my home, had been with someone cleaning out a basement who was preparing to throw the framed poster away. My thoughtful friend intercepted and dropped the poster off at my house. It was a fun surprise and I didn’t realize until a day later Buddha Bandit that it was a Buddha that appeared to replace the one you took from me. See, I didn’t realize the little Buddha statue was gone and before I had made the discovery, another one appeared in its place.

Obviously my house is for sale and you are in the market to buy which is why you were in my home that day. The thing you likely didn’t realize is no one else had been in my house; just you and your Realtor. I prepared the house for you which is why the lights were on to make it easy for you to see since you were there as daylight began to fade. I turned the light on in that particular room and the little Buddha statue, barely two inches tall, was sitting in the same place it had been for the previous four years: on the upper windowsill. Like others who have looked at the house, you (or your Realtor) turned the light off in the room when you finished and I didn’t go into that room until later, until after the new Buddha had arrived. As soon as I walked in I noticed the little statue was gone.

In your defense, it didn’t occur to me that you took it. Who takes a Buddha statue?  I made the assumption it had fallen or perhaps one of my cats, for the first time in four years had decided after your visit to climb up the window and knock it down. I turned the room upside down looking for it. I looked behind the curtain, all through the fabric, in and under the bed and beyond. The statue was nowhere to be found.

And then…the gradual dawning of realization slowly sunk in…you…took…the…little…Buddha…statue. It was a slow-motion, protracted realization. I worked every possible scenario and ruled out every imaginable probability. I played devil’s advocate, defense attorney and detective. The statue either (1) was completely attacked and eaten by my cats, which I highly doubted because I’m fairly certain they would have thrown it up and I would have recognized it as only a cat-owner can understand or (2) the statue decided to spring to life, make a break for it and ran away after your visit or (3) you took it.

I have had things taken from me before and my response in the past is similar to my response now which is to disregard the Emotion versus Logic battle and side with Team Logic. Logic deduces that only those who are hurting and in pain are capable of hurting others (ignorance is a symptom of pain). Only those who feel they are lacking in some way, take from others in a pitiable attempt to make themselves feel better. Logic also tells me in order for you to come into my home and impulsively take the little Buddha statue means you are desperately trying to fill a void. You acted out of want and greed, you acted out of selfishness, you saw something, you wanted it, you took it.

The ironic thing is if you had communicated through our respective Realtors you would like to have the Buddha statue, I would have given it to you. You didn’t have to steal it from me, but since the little statue now resides with you, I’ll share it’s history.

The little statue is called a ‘tsa-tsa’ and was made by a Tibetan Monk who escaped from Tibet by walking across the Himalayan Mountains with his family; he was five years old. He learned to make the little statues in a Monastery located in southern India where he resided from the age of seven for almost 25 years before moving to this country; which is where I met him. He gave me the tsa-tsa when I was mourning the death of my friend Greg, who died from stomach cancer well before his time. The tsa-tsa held special memories of strength and compassion for me. If you look on the bottom, you will notice the bumps, it’s not smooth because the Monk filled it with rice blessed by the Dalai Lama. There are seven grains of rice in the little statue and each one was placed in the mold one at a time; with each placement a special prayer was said. After the second day of baking the tsa-tsa’s are removed to cool and gravity pulls the grains of rice to the bottom. He made the tsa-tsa using a clay mold and then painted it with the gold-colored paint. It is considered to be a blessed icon and it sat in that particular windowsill because it is where I exercise. The little statue inspired me as I suffered through the likes of Tae-Bo and Yoga tapes – perhaps seeing it in the windowsill prevented me from wailing at my exasperation of attempting to bend into yoga postures with my un-benable bones in the way! It is all but impossible to buy a similar tsa-tsa in a store or even online because they are hand-made by certain Monks who have learned the three-day process. Your tsa-tsa is special because of the blessed grains of rice and because it was given to me from a place of deep compassion when I had a hole in my heart. Of all the inanimate things you could have taken, you chose well Buddha Bandit.

For whatever reason, you have a hole in your heart or you would never have taken the little statue. My wish for you Buddha Bandit is to find a way to fill the hole in your heart and you can do that by not taking from others, but by giving to them instead. Someday you may be fortunate enough to be the student but for now you have been a worthy teacher.

With deep compassion,
~ Haven

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