Over three hundred years ago, the Burmese army planned an attack to invade Thailand. At the time, the country was known as Siam. The Siamese monks were in possession of the most amazing Buddha statue. The statue is over 10 feet tall and weighs in excess of 2 1/2 tons. It is made of solid gold and is valued today at $200 MILLION dollars. The monks were determined to protect the shrine that meant so much to them. While it was priceless to them for reasons that transcend money; they knew that the Burmese would stop at nothing to steal the statue because of its tremendous monetary value. They covered the Golden Buddha with 12 inches of clay knowing that the warriors would totally ignore it and think it worthless. Sadly, the monks were slaughtered in the invasion and the secret of the Golden Buddha stayed hidden for two centuries. The Buddha itself though, remained safe.
In the mid 50’s, a monastery was to be relocated to make room for a new highway. The monks arranged for a crane to come and move the “Clay” Buddha to its new location. When the crane started to lift the statue, it was much heavier than expected and it began to crack. Wanting to protect the priceless shrine, the monks lowered it back down and decided to wait until the next day to bring more powerful equipment. To add insult to injury, the rains came so the monks lovingly covered the statue with tarps to keep the moisture away. In the dark of night, the head monk took his flashlight and went out to make sure the Buddha was adequately covered. When the light of the flashlight shone into the crack of the clay, he saw a glimmer…a reflection of something underneath that shroud of clay. He immediately started to carefully chisel away shards of clay to find that the glimmer grew brighter. Hours later, and all the clay removed…he was in the presence of a Buddha made of solid gold. It now resides in The Temple of the Golden Buddha in Bangkok, Thailand. Every year, millions of people go there to see this magnificent work of art and to worship at his feet.
This story is highly symbolic. As humans we also begin to cover ourselves with layers upon layers of clay since we are children. We start to accept limitations in our subconscious minds and we develop fears and self doubt. We protect ourselves from disappointment and hurt and we build protective coats of hard clay around us. As the years go by we get more distrustful, more reserved, maybe even somewhat skeptic and perhaps, at times, cynical with life. We start to compare ourselves with others, and we may develop lower self esteem or poor body image and sometimes we feel like we are “not good enough” or “as good as someone else”. Those beliefs build up and become self fulfilling prophecies.
However, inside each one of us, underneath all those layers of hard clay, the bright light is shining pure gold. The very true nature of who we are remains untouched and beautiful. It is up to us to start to chisel away at the layers of clay, to patiently become aware of our limited beliefs, and gently let the light within to shine brightly as it was always meant to be. Our transformation is waiting as we discover the hidden treasure of our gold shining deep inside our hearts.