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"Wednesday Evening" Buddha Receiving Sustenance in the Forest
"Wednesday Evening" Buddha Receiving Sustenance in the Forest.
- Age approx. Mid 20th Century (1940-60)
- Cast Bronze with painted Buddha's Eyes
- Height 5.5"
- The image commemorates an occasion on which the Buddha retreated to the wilderness of a forest to be away from two quarreling factions of Disciples/ Monks.
- The forest was vast, deep and very cold. The Buddha climbed up a small hill and found a sheltered cave near a small pool that provided a source of water for drinking and bathing, even though the water was icy cold.
- As news of the Buddha's presence spread among the forest creatures, the birds and animals began to come near to Him to breathe in His Holy Presence.
- Among the creatures of the forest, a wise old elephant noticed how cold the water in the pool was, and made it his task every evening to roll down a huge rock from the very top of the hill, after it had been heated by the rays of the sun. Making a great effort, he pushed the warm rock into the little pool near the Buddha's cave, where it warmed the water for the Lord Buddha's bath.
- Then, each morning, with devoted effort, he pushed the huge rock back up to the top of the hill, so it would get heated by the sun again. Day after day, he rolled the huge hot rock downhill into the pool, bowing to announce to The Buddha that the task was done.
- A curious monkey noticed all the elephant's act of kindness and service to Lord Buddha. The monkey also wanted to show his love and make an offering. He climbed up a tree and snatched a a large honeycomb, fleeing the angry buzzing bees. He excitedly approached Lord Buddha, waving the dripping honeycomb as a joyous offering.
- Lord Buddha smiled and told the monkey that to squeeze honey from the comb will kill the bees still inside and He could not harm them. He instructed the monkey to leave the comb next to the tree from which he had broken it off, so that those bees could rejoin their hive.
- Apart from celebrating the Greatness of Charity and Service, the day is significant for its role in establishing unity among Buddhists. The beginning of the story finds The Buddha retreating to the deep forest to be away from the discord among the Monks/ Disciples of Koushambhi. On this day, the disputes amongst the Monks of Koushambhi were ended and they sought out The Buddha in the forest to take a vow of unity and cooperation. In his sermon, The Buddha pointed to the elephant and said, "This elephant lives alone in the forest in the absence of a proper partner. If you do not get associates with wisdom and high thoughts, it is better to live alone in this world, for foolish associates will only increase your suffering."
- The lesson of of this revered image is that Charity, Service and Unity are essential for human life. It is necessary to have mutual tolerance to establish unity. Sacrifice and service bring about changes in both humans and animals.
- Origin is Laos.