“There is no fear for one whose mind is not filled with desires.” Buddha Gautama
Most of us have heard of The Buddha but may not know the man behind the name. Little has been recorded about his early life, though early scholars believe that he was born in the Nepal somewhere between 630-480 BCE. Born Siddhartha Guatama, he was raised in an aristocratic caste complete with a pretty awesome childhood. In fearful reaction to a prophecy about his future as a poor religious teacher, Siddhartha’s parents attempted to prevent any desire for the simple life by raising him in extreme luxury. Despite this, he still witnessed the horrors that were outside of the “white picket” gates of his home and became deeply disturbed by newly-discovered sickness, depression, aging, and death, provoking the thought: What is suffering and what is its place in this world?
Siddhartha left both family and luxury behind in order to find a solution to this suffering, traveling from teacher to teacher and experimenting with extremes of abstinence. When that didn’t solve anything, he realized that neither self-infliction nor a luxurious lifestyle could lead to enlightenment. What was he to do now?
One night, while meditating under a large Bodhi tree, Siddhartha suddenly recalled all of his previous reincarnations. From these surfacing memories, he realized that the only way to rid oneself of suffering was to rid oneself of greed and desire. This was enlightenment! He continued to meditate and share this newfound wisdom for the remainder of his days.
“Give, even if you only have a little.” Buddha Gautama
Seva… this is Buddha’s teaching of selfless world service. He connected the practice of Seva with nature— Just as the sun shines for the growth of the planet and the tree bears fruit for the animals to eat, man also has a place in the natural order of giving. Service purifies the body and spirit, stripping the person of self-centeredness in order to retain a pure heart. After a period of devout practice, it will transform into a way of life and bring true joy to the giver.
This month, in celebration of 31 Days of Asia and Buddha’s Birthday, the Crow Collection of Asian Art will be featuring a day of Seva on May 25th. We challenge you all to a simple task: Treat someone with a random act of kindness. This could be anything from buying a stranger coffee, to mowing your neighbor’s lawn, to giving your clothing to someone that is homeless, or to calling a relative to say that you appreciate them—the opportunities are limitless! Also, make sure to go online and share your experience with us (@CrowCollection), and include #DallasSeva in the description.
CHINA, MING DYNASTY (1368-1644), 15TH CENTURY