Thursday, May 10, 2012

A 2006 puppet show re-enacting Buddha's path to enlightenment

At around the same time as the discovery of the Buddha form on the Moon, I had been searching for other pictorial renditions of Gautama Buddha's encounter with Mara, the demon king who tried in vain to distract Buddha from his deep meditation as he sat under the Bodhi tree. I had found a set of 32 pictures posted on the Internet from a 2006 puppet show in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, reenacting Buddha's path to enlightenment. The remarkable enactment shows Gautama Buddha entering the forest, sitting down to meditate, is surrounded by Mara and his demonic companions, there is an ensuing barrage of attacks on Buddha's meditative mental state, and finally there is peace and tranquility from having overcome the attack. Viewers may see this here.

The reenactment captures the essence of what is seen on the Moon. With Mara's face masking that of the Buddha face, the gesture of Buddha pointing his finger at the Moon seems to confirm the origins of the Bhavachakra (Wheel of Life). Perhaps this is exactly what Gautama Buddha wanted all humans to see and for us to discover much more about the meaning and purpose of our life.

Mara and his demonic forces attacking Buddha.
Wall painting inside the Wat Prathat Doi Suthep Temple in
Chiang Mai, Thailand

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