Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Great Idea, Buddha Dream

When we were visiting Basel, Switzerland last month, we stopped in a bookstore, where I noticed a large book, Buddha: 108 Begegnungen, by Elke Hessel PhD, Stephan von der Schulenburg PhD, and Matthias Wagner K PhD, published by Wienand Verlag this year. The book traces the history of the image of the Buddha, using art in the collection of the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt am Main.

Though it cost about 100 euros, I wanted the book very much. But we were on foot, looking for the Basel Cathedral and we hadn't quite found it yet. A 500-page, quarto-size book in tow didn't seem wise for walking. Plus, I didn't want to make my luggage all the more heavy. So I decided to order the text  once I returned home. It will be available via American booksellers in a couple months.

The other night, I dreamed that I was reaching for that book under my book in order to use it for morning devotions. The cover image of the Buddha, however, asked me (in the dream) where were my books on cathedrals? I reached under the bed for those, too, but the room was filled with too many colors and I felt confused…

Then I woke up for the morning, with neither the Buddha book nor any on cathedrals, nor psychedelic lights swirling around. But as much as we love visiting churches during our travels, I thought that the dream Buddha had a good idea! So later, I found two books, Bernhard Schutz's Great Cathedrals and Anne Prache's Cathedrals of Europe, both of which feature histories of selected churches and their distinctive plans and characteristics.

They're not exactly books of daily devotions, beneath the mattress with my Upper Room and Christ in the Home booklets. But, after all, a purpose of architectural features like tympana, pediment statuary, and windows was to inspire and educate worshipers with the religious imagery. Always trying new ways to vary my sometimes-slacker approach to daily devotions, I've enjoyed leafing through these texts.

That was more interesting kind of dream than being overrun by cats, or showing up for class in my PJs, etc.…

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