Our friends Alan and Elinor have traveled all over the world and collected artifacts, books and unrecognizable, yet beautiful, objects from every place they visited. Their house is a virtual museum of uncountable objects-de-arte, each room filled with hanging pieces, books, whatnots and statues. In the living room, an incredible Buddha sits in meditation with his eyes closed seeming to be praying for peace and contentment.
But, another Buddha in the garden outside had sat alone for months with no purpose after being carefully placed there and they had felt it was time to officially dedicate it as a shrine. A party was planned. Matt Hayes, who has lived in Japan for five years and is somewhat a student of Buddhism, was asked to MC the dedication. After an hour of socializing, thirty guests gathered after nightfall in the garden and listened to Matt touch on what Buddhism means and is. He spoke of the three concepts of knowing yourself, knowing your community of friends, and the Buddha himself. As a group, we stood in the dark, each holding three lighted sticks of incense, looked at ourselves, our friends and the beautiful statue sitting quietly and peacefully in the corner of their garden. Each of us considered how fortunate we were. We stood there, a collection of friends, old and young, Expats from all over the world, Ecuadorians, and visitors, Christian, Jewish, agnostics, and a few wandering souls, and spent a few moments thinking humbly.
It was a touching moment for all of us only to be followed by an incredible repast of a dozen dishes, each better tasting than the last. Once again, we have found that the people we know and have become friends with in Cuenca have had an enormous impact on our lives. Learning more about the concepts of Buddha has only helped reinforce our love of life.