The weeping Buddha or “crying Buddha” was the first Buddha statue that I ever purchased. Right away I was struck by the beauty, power and craftsmanship of this wooden Buddha statue.
I’ve heard a bunch of different stories as it relates to the meaning of the Weeping Buddha and the true tale behind this beautiful statue. So in this article I want to share with you my first impressions of the Weeping Buddha, what it means to me when I see it and the various stories that I’ve heard over the years that try to explain its meaning.
The Weeping Warrior
A long, long time ago there were two legendary warriors who confronted each other in numerous battles with neither getting the best over the other. Both of them wore masks which meant that they never actually saw each other’s face. After many such battles where both skilled warriors failed to best the other, one finally prevailed and the younger warrior was killed. Upon removing his opponents mask as to finally see who his worthy adversary was, the older warrior discovered he had been fighting and now killed his one and only long lost son.
Anguish and suffering tore through the older warrior like a jagged sword tearing through its victim and the man fell to the ground, the very life ripped from him, his chest heaving, he buried his face in his hands to hide the truth of what he saw as tears of dread poured from his eyes. It is said that “the weeping Buddha” is actually a wood carved statue of that tortured and grief stricken older warrior.
The Apprentices Challenge
It has been said that before young wood carvers can even think about carving the fine and delicate details of the human face they are given a challenge to carve something from a single chunk of wood. That something is the powerful physique of the weeping Buddha. These young wood carvers begin their apprenticeship by honing their craft mastering the curves of the human body as portrayed by this statue.
The Meditative Symbol
Others refer to the Weeping Buddha statue as a teaching tale whereby the Buddha is bent over weeping for the troubles of the world and in turn absorbing them and transforming them within his own being. And that because the Buddha weeps for all humankind no one else shall suffer the same depth of sorrow as he.
The Weeping Buddha – A Personal Story
The first time I saw the Weeping Buddha I was immediately mesmerized by the statues stunning beauty, strength and compassion.
It amazed me to see such fine wood carving that conveyed such emotion.
To me the Weeping Buddha illustrates the power and strength of compassion. Of connecting deeply to our own sorrows and the sorrows of the world. That at times this burden is just too much. And that all of us – including the Buddha – can succumb to tears because of the strains and pressures of everyday life.
And in those tears, in those powerful raging emotions, there is a strength. We have the power of release. The power of compassion and connectivity. That it takes strength to come face to face with our own suffering and the suffering of the world. That we do have the power, fortitude and inner will to get through whatever life throws at us.
That at times this burden may be too much for us to bear.
And seeing the Buddha weep reminds me that if the Buddha can weep over this – if sometimes that even for him it’s a little overwhelming – it gives me hope and courage that if I get overwhelmed by the world or my life – that’s OK.
Keeping Being Buddhaful!