While in Hong Kong we took a day trip to Lantau Island, home of the Big Buddha. This is a huge tourist attraction. Tian Tan Buddha (as it is properly called) is so named because it’s base is a model of the Altar of Heaven or Earthly Mount of Tian Tan, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The raised right hand represents the removal of affliction while the left and rests open in his lap symbolising generosity.
The statue is 34 metres (112 ft) tall and weighs over 250 tons. On a clear day it can be seen as far away as Macau. He faces north which is unique as all other Buddha statues face south. Once we arrived we had to climb the 268 steps to its base, which in 34 degree heat and high humidity was no small feat.
On our descent we came across a very ornate Buddhist temple with large incense sticks burning outside. We watched as people took hold of the sticks, faced Buddha and then bowed a number of times. Then they put the sticks back and moved on. “If only it was that easy” my wife quietly said.
My spirit was also grieved. So I decided to write something on it. Call it my oade to Buddha.
What do you see big Buddha? High above the hill, overlooking us all. Do you see what I see – a world full of colour and beauty, wonderfully designed for one great purpose, to display God’s glory? Do you see all these people, who come from near and far to behold you? Do you see them stare at you and revere you? They offer you incense and bow down before you? Do you see them big Buddha?
What do you hear big Buddha? Do you hear the wind blow over the surface of the sea and the birds sing sweetly in the trees? Can you hear the lion roar when he has caught his prey and the roster crow at the break of day? Did you give these creatures voice? Do you hear them when they call?
What can you do big Buddha? Can you make the earth tremble and shake? Can you make the sky pour forth rain so that the rivers may fill their banks again? Can you supply food for the earth? Can you make the grain grow and the trees bear forth fruit below?
Can you heal a world full of pain? Can you comfort the troubled heart and give help to the one whose life is falling apart? Can you deliver the one in strife and heal a broken life? Can you forgive sin big Buddha? Can you take the stain away? Can you wash and make clean so that the fallen one can start all over again?
Why won’t you answer? Is it because you have no more life than the stones that were cut to form you? Oh big Buddha whose stature is so grand, who can’t even lift a drop of sand. I take leave of you now and will go to the One who knows the answers to the what and who and how.
“Not to us, Yahweh , not to us, but to Your name give glory
because of Your faithful love, because of Your truth.
Why should the nations say, “Where is their God ?”
Our God is in heaven and does whatever He pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands.
They have mouths but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk.
They cannot make a sound with their throats.
Those who make them are just like them, as are all who trust in them.”
(Psalm 115: 1-8)