This image of Hotei interests me. (The picture was taken in a bus stop in Calgary; with a shopping cart behind it, and behind that an old church. Hotei back on the street…in Canada!)
This image speaks of fundamental transparency, our luminous (Buddha) nature. Which cannot be hidden, although most mortals have a good try.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” Marianne Williamson
Maitreya (whose name means “Loving One,”)–in the form of Hotei–embodies the spirit of unbounded loving-kindness. A practice that ‘sees’ right through our vain attempts at hiding. By the way, red is often associated with Compassion and Love which makes this photograph all the more relevant.
Within our Order we have a Calendar for the Buddhist Year. January 1st is traditionally when we celebrate the Festival of Maitreya Bodhisattva. In China Hotei is honored in all the temples as Maitreya and there is a reason why too (that will be unveiled latter). Hotei was an historical tenth-century Chinese Zen monk called Budai. He is said to have wandered about and spent his time in villages streets rather than in the security of temples. Hotei’s name means “cloth bag” and he is usually depicted carrying a sack which is full of toys for children. I very much enjoy this warm hearted, joyous and playful depiction of Maitreya. “It is said that just before he passed away Hotei recited a poem which expressed his regret that even though Maitreya sometimes appears in the world, he is unrecognized by people of the time. This led to the association of Hotei with Maitreya that has endured ever since.” Borrowed from Bodhisattva Archetypes
Of course we all carry the capacity to be the future Buddha…now!
The Buddha taught that the offering of merit is the power of ‘good’, which helps in the alleviation of suffering. I know of a number of mothers who are in need of merit at the moment. If they are alive, or not, all will benefit from the gift of giving, the giving of ones opened heart.
The Athabaska River near Jasper, Alberta.
I was fortunate enough to travel into the Canadian Rockies over this last week-end. January 1st would have been my mothers 98th birthday, she loved to be out of doors in the mountains. Uh! You think they will live for ever, but they don’t.
May the merit of these photographs be offered to her and to all of those who gave the gift of a human body.