| Literal Comprehension
“The Buddha” is an essay by Elizabeth Coatsworth. The artist had to paint a picture of the death of the Buddha to be hung in the village temple. To do this he had to understand the Buddha. On the first day, he imagined himself to be a young prince, Siddharth, living in the palace.
He went and won the princess Yashodhara in a competition. He had no bad feelings against the rivals.
The artist felt that a line of servants was serving his food when his housekeeper came with his midday meal. He imagined his cat, Good Fortune, to be a dancing girl. On the second day, he became Siddharth, who give up everything seeing an old man, a sick man, and a dead man. Feeling powerless, he wanted to know the cause of the suffering.
At night he left his wife and son and went secretly out of his father’s kingdom. The prince’s pain made the artist tired the next morning. On the third day, he imagined Siddharth sitting under a bo tree.
Being unmoved by temptation, he got great wisdom. He loved every living thing including the rocks as his own wife or son. He wandered here and there making disciples and carrying happiness. Now he was eighty and was about to die.
The artist looked for the cat and remembered that the cat was not allowed to go to heaven because it has paid no homage to the Buddha. He felt sad for the cat. Knowing all this about the Buddha, he slept for twenty-four hours. After this in less than three hours, he painted the picture of the Buddha dying peacefully on the couch.
In this story, the writer might be trying to tell us that we must be devoted to our work to become successful. Similarly, death is natural and it doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor.
The writer also wants to spread the message of Buddha about life, death, peace, and satisfaction. Death is suffering to those who are in grip of physical pleasures and it is peace to those who have given up such pleasure.
| Critical Thinking
Though this story presents a very sensual theme about life, death, and Buddha’s principle, I am dissatisfied with the writer.
Some of my questions are:
- Is it possible for people to sleep for 24 hours pretending as if they were dead?
- Is there really the existence of gods, devils, and heaven?
- Can we paint any picture by imagining their nature?
After reading this story, I realized that we must be devoted to anything if that thing is our aim and goal.
Similarly, I remember my old days when I used to paint a picture of movie heroes by imagining their looks and personality. Also, hard and continuous preparation ultimately gives a positive and better result.