According to Japanese Zen, tomorrow is Buddha’s Enlightenment Day, marking that early a.m. when Shakyamuni Buddha, seeing the morning star, fully awakened. Usually we mark this day with a lot of meditation, sitting even through the night.
Recently, however, I’m been mulling over Bible museums and parks that replicate everything from the Garden of Eden to Noah’s Ark and beyond, with enactments of a naked Eve eating an apple every day at 10 while Cain kills Abel at 4, and I had an idea: Why not a Buddha’s Enlightenment theme park?
Okay, sit with the idea, but only to let it carry you away.
First, we replicate the palace in which he was born and grew up, with lots of pretty damsels and perpetually-smiling servants.
Then we offer a guided tour, preferably on chariots, of dark and dangerous alleyways populated by folks who’re sick, old, or dying (preferably all three), easy to design since all we have to do is replicate the streets of any modern city. This part, of course, will be optional since not everybody wants to go this route.
Then we’ll invite the more progressive ones among us to take off our made-in-China clothes and burn them in a big bonfire; tossing our families in the fire optional, as are toasted marshmallows.
We will then do a pilgrimage to various teachers staffing the park but make sure not to call it dharma shopping. We’ll call it the Ascetic’s Tour, charge for organic cotton rags made by Patagonia but include a diet plan for free.
And then: Bodh Gaya. Imagine an immense hall filled with trees with Bodhi leaves constantly raining down so that you could gather them as gifts for the folks back home.
Each tree will come with its own seating: Economy will be nothing; Business Class will offer a chaise lounge, and First will provide a bed with full bath. Snack, of course, is rice pudding, dairy or vegan.
After you sit down there will be 1 minute of silence, followed by shows of attachments of all kinds: Economy will see historical scenes of the Holocaust and secret footage taken from operating slaughterhouses, Business will see the Kardashian sisters and their husbands, while First will feast on Playgirls and Playboys of the month. All shows to be followed by Sound and Light when morning star appears.
Voila!, as Stanley would say.
If you will it, it will happen. Who has time to sit for long periods? Would you really pay to see things just as they are? The business of non-transformation is long and hard, with nothing to show at the end. The Buddha’s Enlightenment Theme Park, or BE-Park, is the real way to go.