May 4, 2016 – Month of flower and Buddha photos – Day 4
Pink-red lotus flower, detail of porcelain statue of Pu-Tai (Hotei) Buddha / Maitreya Buddha, China c 1900.
This Pu-Tai greets anyone/everyone to whom my front door opens. He’s been with me a long time. Pu-Tai is one of my favorite buddhas, enlightenment beings, of all traditions, all lands, and all times. He is revered in slightly variant forms throughout the Buddhist world.
Some scholars have identified him both with Shri Ganesha on the one hand, and with Santa Claus on the other! I like the idea of all three of these wonderful bundles of wise-joy being, at some level, different manifestations of the same one being. And in way, of course, they are, just as in a similar/identical way, we all are!
The image of Pu-Tai with young children climbing all over him is one of the most popular, and one of my favorite representation of this jovial avuncular buddha. His Holiness the Dalai Lama kept such a statue, quite similar to this one, in his personal chambers at the Potala monastery palace when he resided there before having to flee to safety and freedom in India. The small porcelain Pu-Tai statue is still there in his former bedroom.
This particular motif reminds me of when my nieces & nephews were very young and loved to climb all over me in a gentle pretend wrestling &/or horse-riding play on the carpets and lawns whenever/wherever we would gather. Such wonderful fun & pure joyous giddy love! Giddyup.
The delicately pink flower in this very fuzzy photo bloomed overnight and said hello to us the morning after my sweetie and I moved into our home here in the urban desert ten years ago. A lovely morning greeting blessing gift!
Everywhere she went, my wife inspired flowers to open. It was uncanny but from the beginning utterly convinced me of her uniquely magic heavenly-earthly presence.
The first time we met, I’d walked up the back path to my favorite bookstore-coffeeshop. It turned out to be hers too. There were tall wild weeds growing along the walk when I arrived in the early evening gloaming, but no blossoms. She came up the same path a few minutes later. We left together several hours later, having met by chance for the first time in the shop and talked til we closed the place down and they shooed us out the door. As we walked down the path together in the dark, several of those wildflower weeds were now in bloom. It was almost weird, but I instantly suspected something heavenly was “afoot” and “abuzz” surrounding the whole situation, or I should say surrounding the whole person I was walking/floating along side of. I know you will think I’m speaking symbolically and hyperbolically. Nope. Not even.
Pu-tai’s story is fascinating. He was a Chan (Zen) monk named Qiè-cǐ who lived during the Later Liang Dynasty (early 10th century). He was a native of Zhehiang, and legendary during his lifetime for his longevity, jovial carefree eccentric nature, his mutual magnetic affinity with children, his serene utter poverty, his unstinting generosity, and uncanny insight. At the time of his death he revealed himself as an incarnation of Maitreya, the Buddha of the future. Maitreya resides in the Tushita Heaven awaiting his time of appearing in a vastly distant future age as the next supreme Buddha of the Earthly plane. Maitreya became curious about the welfare of the Earthly beings He is entrusted to care for during his future embodiment on Earth. So He made a brief, advanced, incognito appearance in the form of the humble Zen monk and holy fool Pu-Tai. He enjoyed himself so much, He stuck around for well over a hundred years.
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