Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Buddha Board

The Buddha Board -- above is a picture of the mini version which I have but there's a larger version as well -- is a mediation device I purchased for myself after I found the larger version was a major success with my grandson and his family. If you go to the main website you will find a calming experience right on screen. This is a trademarked item and others sites offer several ways you can order one. I first saw the Buddha board at the wonderful Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art in NYC. When I showed it to Rachel she suggested I buy one for her oldest son as a graduation present. Huh? I said. He'd love it, she said. In fact he told me later that he had it in his college room and several friends were so fascinated they went onlne and ordered their own. Since then I've followed Rachel's advice and bought one for grandson #2 for a graduation present.

What is the Buddha board? It's a painting surface on an easel that comes with a Chinese calligraphy type brush. One draws on the surface only with a water-wet brush. The image will slowly fade. As a meditation device it offers a time-limited object to look at as some mediators look at a candle flame. To me there's a special effectiveness of writing one's name on the board and watching it slowly fade to nothing -- a gentle kind of memento mori, although I believe any drawing, even random lines, speak to the meditator of the impermanence of all things.

In general I very much dislike writing about very personal practices like meditations. I am very put off by people who practice yoga in public places. I cannot believe any public display is other than hubris. I write about the Buddha board here because it's an ingenious device and I believe others might find it calming and useful.

As I just wrote about public display I remembered a very egregious example: during my African trip I took a sunset cruise on the Zambezi river near Victoria Falls. About half the people on the smallish, flat bottomed little boat were a Polish tourist group who were disruptively noisy as they drank up the supply of brandy. One of their members chose to sit on the very front of the ship in the lotus position, his hands in a mudra, his back to everyone. Okay -- that bothered me, but then he decided to do a headstand, there on the very front. One of the women spotted him as he took the position to make sure he didn't tumble forward into the river. Once he was steady he remained in that position for about five minutes. None of the boat's crew suggested he stop -- I'm not sure why because it was, in fact, a dangerous thing to do. Had there been any kind of bump he could easily have fallen in the river which had a number of always territorial hippopotami not far away. It was a great relief to see him finally resume a normal sitting posture and beam with pride when his friends applauded him. It was not yoga, it was arobatics.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Love this, and all that you're up to here on your blog. Thanks for stopping by my blog; the picture of my son walking on the beach in the rain was taken on the Cape -- Brewster, in fact!