Sunday, 25 March 2012

Learn Something New Every Day...

I happened to look up some details on Google, after a picture of my wooden Buddah, which I posted with a poem on Alias Jinksy, brought a query from a blogpal. This is what I found...

"Scholars believe that the Laughing Buddha is in fact modelled on an historical figure, a fat, wandering Zen monk named Pu-tai.
All sources describe him as obese, with wrinkled forehead and a white, protruding belly which he left uncovered.
There was another feature of his bodily appearance that captured attention.
Wherever he went, he carried a pu-tai (Japanese Hotei) or cloth-bag. Thus he came to be known as Pu-tai Hoshang, or hemp-bag monk.
Legend has it that in this bag he carried candy for the children. Over the centuries within China, Buddhist notions of happiness based on self-mastery and enlightened insight were fused with popular Chinese life-ideals of happiness through material prosperity, so today the hemp sack may be interpreted as being filled with gold, with happiness, health, and other aspects of abundance.

Happy Hotei's come in many forms.
  • Laughing Buddha of Love - sitting in love and compassion
  • Laughing Buddha of Prosperity - holding a Ru-Yi Pot or Bowl of Plenty up to the universe for receiving abundance
  • Laughing Buddha of Safe Travel - on a journey with a hemp sack full of protection
  • Laughing Buddha of Happy Home - sitting on a large gold nugget representing solid foundation, with a smaller nugget in his hand to give to others
  • Spiritual Journey Buddha - dressed for the journey in fine robes, with a fan for understanding and a sack to collect insights
  • Laughing Buddha of Long Life - sitting with his fan hat and enjoying the good life!
Hotei travels the country spreading joy and happiness wherever he goes.
His big belly is a symbol of happiness, good luck and generosity. Hotei is the deity of happiness, laughter, abundance and the wisdom of contentment. The image of the Hotei Buddha is almost always seen carrying a cloth or linen sack. It is usually filled with many precious items, including candy for children, food, or the woes of the world. His prayer mala is carved with a symbol meaning "good fortune". His large elongated earlobes are a sign of wisdom. The bag represents fulfillment of wishes or can also be the blessings of Buddha. Happiness is one of the Laughing Buddha's greatest gifts.

Many believe that rubbing the Laughing Buddha's belly brings joy, luck and prosperity. As a result, Feng Shui has adopted the Laughing Buddha as a prime symbol of wealth & prosperity.

He is supposedly the only member of the seven based on an actual person. Back when Buddhist missionary monks were delivering the message & way of Gautama Buddha onto the islands of Japan, they devised a method to more efficiently reach the local Shinto inhabitants. By manifesting Buddhist principles, with Shinto Kami, the monks were successful. Kami are seen as Shinto gods and were worshiped as such.

The Buddhist monastics were able to better communicate their ideology to Japanese natives by using the Kami's as examples in common Buddhist practice. Thus, Buddhism became very widely accepted in Japan and from one of these manifestations, came Hotei."

Now you know as much as me...

Friday, 23 March 2012

Time Flies

Especially when blogging takes a back seat, and the driver (me) steers a different course! However, like the proverbial bad  penny, I always turn up eventually...So here I am with a 'free gift' post, ready made, thanks to my Bro in new Zealand. One very early morning this week (3.30am) I gave up on sleep, and came downstairs to the computer, only to find a long email from him, which included this 'Tale Of A Tree'- he's given me permission to share it with you today.

 ".. We went past our old house - the first one we ever bought, the one we lived in for 14 years, from 1979 onwards, while the girls grew up; the one eldest daughter was married from; the one we were so sad to leave. We sold it to the Council a few years ago, when they wanted to widen the road, and there it has sat ever since, empty but cared for, lawns mowed, my old workshop used for storage. And there it stood yesterday, half-way demolished.
Mutti went back today with a camera, spoke to the gang taking the old place to pieces, and was allowed to wander through. Here's a couple of pics: the deck I built (well, the half of it that's still not gone), and the workshop that we built with friends and neighbours to help. So sad.

But one good thing. At the front is a tree. This tree we bought as a three-foot Christmas tree in 1974, but when Christmas was over, I looked at it and thought that, since it still had its roots, I would plant it. And it took, and grew, and for the next few Christmases we would dig it up, with its attendant soil, and put it back in a bucket in the house. When we moved, we told it we were going, dug around it carefully, took it with us and planted it in the next garden. Again, it took. Finally, in 1979, we dug it up again, again explaining what we were doing, and put it in our own garden. It's now huge and grand, and we were saddened to think our first Christmas tree would be cut down. But It isn't going to be. It's been identified as a rare Japanese cedar, and is now a protected tree. It will stand by the new road, proud on its corner. How's that?"

Thursday, 1 March 2012

More Play Time


At last, here's a continuation of my dabble in the delights of a theatrical extravaganza.

Having spent weeks working on the costumes, at last came the performances. My singing buddy and I  (Lady Anne and her maid Prudence, remember?) were in four of the little playlets, each enacted at a different location around Chichester.

First we were part of a motley crew storming a building, then members of a hymn singing entourage of a preacher man. Next we had the country dancing to do, but our final scene was the most impressive. We had to station ourselves in the garden of a large and imposing house which had a wonderful set of  high-arched, wrought iron gates, so that at the appropriate time it would appear that we'd rushed from our 'home' to see what all the commotion was.

By the time this stage of the performance began each evening, dusk was falling, and I had to carry a lantern when we trooped to the gates which kept us safe from the 'rabble' outside. This crowd, (armed with a supply of cabbages to throw!) were protesting at the incarceration and possible eventual hanging of a young mother, who had somehow offended the powers that be. It was all very touching, but to tell you the truth, I can't remember whether the cabbages or the law won the battle! I'm pretty sure it was the cabbage throwers who rescued the mother and baby.

'Baby' was a prop supplied by me, a life sized doll wrapped in fake-dirt encrusted swaddling clothes. I have the doll still, and it's wrappers, but they have been restored to their pristine whiteness, thanks to  Persil.
Here's  a photo of the imposing entrance to the Bishop's Palace Garden, which served as ready made scenery for the 'prison'  in the play.
And this illustration give a fair impression of how we all looked in the scene where we had to do our country dancing on the still cobbled road of South Street.

I think there were five performances altogether, but the first in particular caused us much mirth. The horse and waggon which transported the old and infirm amongst the audience from location to location, had passed over the cobbles shortly before we began our dance. We discovered that the horse's digestive system was well regulated, as you might reached the end stage at precisely the time it was trotting over those cobbles, and we had to watch carefully where we placed our feet between the still steaming dollops of manure it gifted us with! And the next night, the horse manage a repeat performance as well as us. After this, word must have got back to the people responsible for feeding the animal so they altered his meal times, for the remaining performances were trouble free...

There are still more tales to tell, but I don't want this post to stretch any longer, so will save them for another day...bear with me, eh? If you missed the previous installments, you can find the first here and the second here.

Linked to Sepia Saturday