Real life / Religion

why buddha is in my bathroom…

IMAG2961… and my living room… and bedroom… and why Jesus and Mary and Ganesh often join him.

AgnosticBuddhistRamble ahead, kiddies… Buckle up.

i have a small Buddha in my bathroom that annoys my spawn. my spawn is not Buddhist or even Buddhist-adjacent. It isn’t the Buddha  statue that bothers her… it bugs her that it is in the bathroom.

my first instinct is simply to say… my house… my choice… or, as Eddie Murphy so eloquently put it?

Here’s the deal-i-o. Buddha isn’t my diety (or the diety of many folks who embrace his wisdom). If he WERE my diety-of-choice, that wouldn’t prohibit his placement in that room. Would i carry a Buddha into your home and place it there… or anywhere for that matter? Nope. Fact is, Buddha moves around in my house – as do many objects. i place these items where they bring me joy and thought and inspiration. If you enter my cave and these things offend you? You have a choice. You can leave or you can stay. If you stay, you can discuss your misgivings with me or remain silent. It’s just that simple.

i consider myself a fairly open-minded and respectful kind of bat, so i really have no desire to offend the sensibilities of anyone else, but i find the REASONS for not placing a representation of Buddha in the bathroom or kitchen or bedroom…  well… puzzling at best.

We are all so frickin’ funny about our religions-of-choice, or the one we were born into, or the one we inherited from someone else. We take ourselves far too seriously.

Because it is in my nature to research, when i began thinking about this… i took to the lovely interwebs. What follows are some of the DOs and DON’Ts of Buddha placement… along with my thoughts on each. One of the things that i find most disturbing about some of these DO’s and DON’Ts is that they make normal human activities and interactions “good” or “bad” and i don’t happen to agree with the assessments.

Don’t put him on top of the TV. The tinny din will annoy him.

Um. Buddha is dead. Even if he weren’t, it’s a statue (or image) and it cannot hear. The tinny din will annoy me, though… please don’t put me too close to your television set.

Don’t place him  near any knick-knacks, “He’d be upset if he were stuck next to your owl-shaped salt and pepper shakers,” said the article, but continued… “surround him by smaller, meaningful objects like a crow’s feather, sacred candles and your lucky penny.”

That’s presuming a lot. Maybe Buddha digs owls. Maybe salt pleases him? Perhaps pepper is his cup of tea… chi, that is?  But a penny? or feather? Um. Ok. i guess the take-home message is to place him with things that are important to you.

DO enhance his vibrancy by having him face east, if possible, into the sunrise.

You can enhance your OWN vibrancy by spending time in this exposure… especially in the morning. Sunshine… good for us.

Never place your Buddha on the floor. It is irreverent to look down upon him.

i would love to hear Buddha’s take on that one… this doesn’t jive with any of his teachings… at least not as i read them. Oddly enough, that website also cautioned that if he was on the floor, you might stub your toe on him and that – well – that is a good reason indeed not to do it.

DO place him facing your front door because that will keep out evil spirits. “Anyone who enters will immediately note Buddha checking him out and will flee if they are filled with evil”.

IMAG2970Gigglesnort. i did NOT make that up. Okay, okay… this will work if the person follows his teachings, perhaps, but then… would they really be evil-spirited and menacing to you and your home? Perhaps all the Protestant and Catholic churches that get robbed each year would do well to place a Buddha… very economical security system, that. Please note: my living room Buddha is currently sorta behind the front door so he can jump out at you all ninja-style. Also note that in the corner next to him i can find one of my baseball bats. If someone enters my home with malicious intent? i’ll quickly ascertain whether it is right action to defend myself and my home. i’m not counting on Buddha to actually take part in the security detail.

Never put your Buddha statue in the bathroom. It is rude to use the toilet in front of Buddha

i’m pretty sure that Buddha voided his bladder and bowels. i think it’s really rude to talk on the phone in front of people and suggest cell phones be kept at least 30 paces away from all representations of the Buddha. Why shouldn’t i have Buddha in the bathroom? i’ve placed his green glass bust where the light streams through it… high on the wall near the shower head which blesses me with clean water to cleanse my body. i see him when i face the mirror in the morning and at the end of the day… when my self-talk is at its most damning and i must remember to be compassionate to myself. His teachings remind me of the importance of right speech and that includes the things i say to myself.

Never put your Buddha in your bedroom. He does not want to see you engaged in a passionate act.

IMAG2964Uh… then i best not have a Buddha in any frickin room of my house… if sex is gonna spook him. Again, this makes no sense. Buddha was not without passion. He wasn’t a stone. He was a man. Interestingly enough, the same websites suggest that having him in your yoga room is awesome, so apparently he is a fan of downward dog… just not doggy-style. How about this? How about i have sex… sex that honors me and my partners and our desires? Buddha would probably be cool with that. Why would i ban him from my bedroom? When i fuck… i am present. When i sleep, i do so after breathing deeply and getting securely into my body. His wisdom has helped me on my path to being more present… even in bed. When i wake… if he is one of the first things my eyes light upon, is that so wrong?

Never put your Buddha in your kitchen. He does not want to see you eating dead animals.

Here’s a thought… howzabout you stop eating the dead animal. Seriously? Is Buddha policing your diet? If eating animals bothers your Buddhist bones, then stop eating meat. Why would i not want Buddha to be in my kitchen? Might his image there remind me to be present when i eat… to be mindful of my nutrition… to enjoy the bounty that is here and now?

DO place him on your desk or where you create. He can sit on a raised platform near your printer, next to your computer or in your artist’s studio, as long as you don’t paint on him.

Uh-oh. i’m in deep shit here. i’ve painted my living room Buddha three times (so far!). He came to me by way of thrift store as a faux-stone (think Miami Vice) monstrosity. i liberated him with a shiny coat of metallic silver and then he was orange for awhile. He is now a burgundy color. He must be seriously pissed at me.

i should note that i’m not poo-pooing the practice of feng shui at all (which factors into many of these ‘rules’ of placement), but most of what i know about it (note… i said ‘what i know’) suggests that these basic principles are just good for people… most of them, at least… and i simply don’t hold to the superstitious aspect of them. Most of the ideas of mirror placement promote light and safety. The placement of beds permits you to see who is entering the room… it’s just mostly common sense.

It’s the weird “my icon or deity is all powerful” hitting the “and i must confine it to this space” that baffles me.

IMAG2966i find it puzzling that we claim deities (some of us) and extol their virtues and proclaim their omnipresence and then we promptly segregate our lives from them.  We decide if it is appropriate to picture Christ on the cross or off, and then we attach him to everything from necklaces to our skin by way of tattoo. We put deities in stain glass windows, on walls, on altars, and sometimes? We put them on our dashboards or bumper stickers. But God/Jesus/Mary/Ganesh/Buddha forbid we take a piss in front of them.

i try not to be too judgmental about how folks feature iconic imagery. If it helps them… then who really cares? i think that – if Jesus or Buddha or Mary or [insert name here] exists in any true sense of the word – they probably are far more concerned with what we are doing to each other than what we are doing with their graven images.

You… do you.


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