17 November 2008

The Beehive Buddha

I must admit that I am a sucker for religious simulacra be it Allah in an aubergine or the Virgin Mary on a cheese toastie. Examples or pareidolia are common in Islam and Christianity, but I had not come across a Buddhist example before.

According to the Rochester (Minnesota) Post Bulletin the local Cambodian Buddhist community is abuzz over what they believe is a miracle at their temple in southeast Rochester: A wasp nest in the shape of a seated Buddha.

The nest, which is nestled in the eaves high above the entry to the Buddhists' hall, was spotted during a celebration in which community members give monks new robes. "Instead of the celebration we were having, we were paying attention to the beehive," said 35-year-old monk Sokunthea Thun.

Elder members of the Cambodian Buddhist community said they have never seen an apparition of the Buddha in their lifetimes. "The Buddha is trying to tell everybody to seek peace in their lives," said 70-year-old Voeun Sor.

The location of the nest is typical for paper wasps, said Kirk Payne, a naturalist at Quarry Hill Nature Centre in Rochester. "They'll make a comb that can be kind of be wave-like," he said. "I can imagine how they could make a shape like an undulating, Buddha-like figure."

The Buddha wasn't trying to send a message with the nests, but the insects were trying to communicate a Buddhist message, Thun said. "Bees can do this kind of miracle, so humans can also do miracles," he said. "Everywhere in this world, we humans need to follow in the bees' path to make peace and serenity."

Sometimes it’s a shame to be a sceptic. This is certainly one of those time even if the message would fall mainly on deaf ears.


James Higham said...

Do you believe that there are sometimes shapes in clouds, Jams?

jams o donnell said...

Of course.. because we see them! Okay so it is merely pareidolia but it is still fun to make them out!

Liz Hinds said...

How lovely! A message from the bees.

I have a whole of photos of shapes in clouds!

Liz Hinds said...

that should have been book of photos.

Kay Dennison said...

If it is a message, the skeptic in me says we won't listen and the mystic in me prays that we will. Sigh.

jams o donnell said...

What a nice book that must be Liz!

I know what you mean Kay. I would like to think that we would listen to the wasps and have done with conflict.. Hiho

Ardent said...

Looking at the hive, I definitely see the shape of Buddha. Coincidence or a message? That I do not know but it made an interesting blog post.:)

jams o donnell said...

Thanks Ardent. It certainly did... well I thought so!