Epistle 2, Saturday, 11 July 2009: On the Road to Myanmar

11 07 2009

Besides catching my breath today from yesterday’s travel, a group of about eight of us went to see “The Grand Palace.”  This palace is actually a complex of buildings built around the late 1700s.  It contains a royal residence, some government offices and especially noteworthy the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

What is most striking are the colors found in the architecture.  The vivid and bold colors capture an onlooker so that one’s eye is constantly taking in an array of bright and bold colors.  In fact, the style and construction may give an observer sensory overload.  The picture below gives a good example.

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Other interesting aspects on the grounds of the complex were the statues related to the myths associated with Buddha.  Many of the images/statues depict the combination of both animal and human figures together.  For Western eyes these images combining humans and birds or humans and lions, as the pictures note below, may appear grotesque.

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I am reminded, however, of the very interesting hybrids found in Revelation.  Particularly striking is the image in Revelation 9:7-10:   “In appearance the locusts were like horses equipped for battle. On their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, 8 their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth; 9 they had scales like iron breastplates, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. 10 They have tails like scorpions, with stingers, and in their tails is their power to harm people for five months.”

My sense is that this image would not strike Buddhists as that unusual or strange.  Finding points of connection are always helpful in dialogues with those of different traditions.

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