No matter how many times I look back, I always find clues about how we can successfully move forward. This, like my previous writings, is about installing self-belief, but the few words that I write here will not do the work unless you do the work. So, I hope and have faith that you will do the work and turn these words into works.
Comparison is the thief of joy — Theodore Roosevelt
Today, comparison will be the reason for your joy, and you will spread your joy vicariously through the act for the common good
In 1955, they discovered the Golden Buddha, which is the starting point of my story. Down the rabbit hole I went in to find out about this vast monument that delivers awe to whoever gets the privilege of visiting it.
In short, The Golden Buddha is an ancient and incredibly valuable statue of Buddha made of solid gold that dates back over 700 years. It was discovered in 1955 in Bangkok, Thailand, and was hidden for centuries to protect it from being stolen by invading armies. The statue is now housed in the Wat Traimit temple in Bangkok and is a popular tourist attraction.
My fascination, driven by curiosity, on how a statue of such magnitude could be hidden…for centuries? Well, it turns out at one point in its history the statue was covered with a layer of stucco and coloured glass to conceal its true value. Stucco is a construction material, otherwise known as “render.” Its composition is made up of lime and sand. It was the ultimate covering; Weather resistant, durable, resilient, and ironically, easy to chip off. My next question would be, “who would cover this 3-meter tall, 5.5-ton giant?”
It was hidden by the people of Ayutthaya, who were the inhabitants of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. I wanted to find out the character of these people, because I was curious and hungry for the why.
They were culturally diverse people, as the kingdom was home to many ethnic groups and religions. Buddhism was the dominant religion, and it devoted them to Buddha.
Agriculture, fishing, and trade were among their skills, and they were renowned for their expertise in metalworking, ceramics, and textiles. Proper skills they had which were enriched in values. They were known for their resilience and adaptability, so it makes sense why they would protect this symbol of lust (in the wrong hands) and love (in their sharing hands).
We also knew the Buddha as Siddhartha Gautama. He was revered and worshiped for his achieved enlightenment and his becoming for awakening to the nature of reality and suffering.
It is with this fact, which I blend the thought that the people of Ayutthaya wanted to protect the Golden Buddha, even though it was covered, for it to remain with them so it could empower, enlighten, represent purpose, meaning and radiated a deep sense of worth to all that wanted to live a self actualised life.
Fast forward and paradoxically go back to the beginning of this story, and in 1955, whilst a temple was being relocated in Bangkok, Thailand, a monk by the name of Phra Khrueng, noticed a crack in the stucco covering while inspecting the statue.
Without cracks, we cannot see true value, and it seems Phra was a curious fella. He used a hammer and chisel carefully to chip away the stucco, revealing the shining gold beneath.
It has led to making it one of the most remarkable and historically significant finds in world history.
Success leaves clues.
I hope I have been successful in leaving the clues that will have you leaving this read with an empowering realisation that you are no different to the Golden Buddha. How so?
We all have coverings. As we travel through the passage of life, we build resilience, protect our tolerance for things that don’t serve us, become educated from the kindness of others and learn through hurt that we must develop a deep understanding that enlightenment comes from working for the common good. Every Ying must have a Yang. The people of Ayutthaya knew the only way they could protect their values, beliefs, and integrity was by hiding the guiding light that empowered them (the Golden Buddha).
The Golden Buddha is a powerful symbol of spiritual awakening and enlightenment, and the human spirit is driven by the human condition. The condition, in this instance, is love. Love brought the Golden Buddha to our attention. Yes, it was wrapped in sacrifice (the people of Ayutthaya covering their light), and curiosity (Phra Khrueng), but ultimately, the driving force was love.
Think about the Stucco. A robust material and when applied stands the test of time, but with a small crack appearing, we can easily chip away it.
Every day, we wear Stucco. What are we protecting? Ego? Shame? Weakness? No, you, just like the people of Ayutthaya, are protecting Gold.
You are Gold. You are the Golden Buddha.
When is it the right time to uncover and see the gold?
When is it the right time to rid the coverings so you can be gold?
Coverings give you power, for hiding, for not acting on your doubt, and for protecting the Gold. Is that the power you want, or is finding yourself the true power?
How do you find true power? You can start by cultivating love and kindness for yourself.
Unravel the coverings and understand Gold does not rust. Know that no-one will steal you because your mind is not for sale.
The golden Buddha is magnificence, and it will not be stolen because it cultivates love and kindness.
You are magnificence, that’s why you can compare yourself, so you can cultivate joy in love and kindness for you and others.
Without cracks, we cannot see true value