i spent many hours today wandering from wat to wat (temple to temple)...bowing upon entry into each sanctuary, before each giant buddha statue...i began to feel curiosity about all the bowing i was doing...what exactly does this act mean to me right now?
i spent the day letting that inquiry float in and out through my experience...
as much as i love and feel devoted to practicing and studying the buddha's teachings, i do not identify as buddhist. i simply cannot get behind the age-old patriarchal storyline that men should have more power and privilege than women...even if the bearer of such news is dressed in monk's robes, head bowed, carrying an alms bowl. as i have visited more and more temples throughout asia, i have noticed an excessive amount of statuary to men and their power trips. when i come upon these areas within the temple complexes, i just have to roll my eyes and walk on by...i simply don't care to know any more about it. however, i whole-heartedly appreciate the temples and the buddhas for their quiet and their beauty...they feel like a refuge within an overgrown modernity...for the weary, over-stimulated body and the frantic, racing mind.
when i see a statue or image of the buddha i do not see a god, a savior, a lord, or even a man. i see equanimity, compassion, kindness, right mind and wise effort, concentration, peace...a mirror of all beings' true nature...and so i bow to that, out of the deepest gratitude within me...and for a moment the rest just melts away.