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Sitting on the Buddha’s Face

May 8, 2012

I picked up this postcard at a Buddhist meditation last year.

I enjoyed the meditation. I appreciated the discussion afterward. But the little yellow postcard with the serene image of the Buddha’s face, that listed other events the group would host on the back, is what I liked most.

I liked it so much I gave it a designated display spot on my coffee table, next to a decorative red bowl and a collection of small rare books.

I’ve noticed visitors sitting on my sofa will sit their drinks on top of this postcard. How rude. “Don’t sit on the Buddha’s face!” I tell them and they quickly move their glass or cup and tell me, “Sorry.”

I guess they assume the postcard is a coaster, and that the vintage glass coasters with my initials on them are art – art they wouldn’t dare rest their drinks on.

No, my picture of the Buddha is not a coaster. It’s just a postcard, but I’m respectful of it, in the same way I wouldn’t put my drink on top of a picture of my Mom or my favorite author.

This got me thinking about how our Christian dominate culture tends to revere all things Jesusy and debunk all things not.  I wondered if people would be so apt to sit their coffee or their Cabernet on top of Jesus’ face if it rested on my coffee table instead of the Buddha’s face. And can you imagine what would happen if the title of this post was, Sitting on Jesus’ Face?

So I found an old Christmas card, of the Jesus is the reason for the season variety and cut it to postcard size. I swapped it for my Buddha postcard, just to see if guests would treat it so casually.

Not one single person partaking in my little experiment (5 out of 5) dared to soil Jesus’ face with a beverage ring. 4 of the 5 asked were the vintage coasters actually coasters and remarked how pretty they looked, as they looked for a place to place their drinks on my coffee table. The other guest held her glass in hand the entire visit and took it into the kitchen and placed it on the counter at our visit’s end.

I wanted to laugh but that would have blown my experiment, besides, what was funnier was how none of the 5 commented about me – Rougebuddha – having a picture of Jesus on my coffee table. I guess to all of them it’s just the right thing to do.

I’m going to replace the postcard, but I’m going to have it laminated first.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2012 4:12 pm

    Great post! I think you’re spot-on about Jesus’ exalted role in our society. Ridiculous the way people presume…

  2. May 11, 2012 1:38 am

    Reblogged this on Christian-Buddhist Journey and commented:
    Very interesting case study… Interesting how people don’t respect other cultures as they do the majority culture they know… Thanks Rougebuddha…

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