The Story of the Golden Buddha is very nicely explained in one of the early parts of the Finding Joe Movie. If you haven’t watched this movie yet, I can’t recommend it enough. You can simply rent it right from this page if you like. I’ve watched the movie many times now and I get more and more from it each time. As I read other books and get to experience different peoples insights, I also get to see more and more meaning in the Finding Joe movie. Joseph Campbell must have been a wonderful man.
Even if you haven’t seen the Finding Joe movie, you can see the part about The Story of the Golden Buddha here, just below (it’s less than 4 minutes long). This is a wonderful little story so well told by Alan Cohen. The brief idea is that a golden Buddha was covered up with clay one day when an army was coming to invade. It worked, as the army didn’t steal or destroy it. However, everyone forgot it was golden underneath until a long time later when a young boy accidentally bumped some clay off. He saw the gold beneath. He called everyone else and they picked off the clay to reveal the glorious, golden Buddha.
There is a parallel for us in this story. Here’s my take on it, as it stands right now. We’re all “golden” at our cores. Our spirits are “gold” (and we all have the same gold!!) and then we’re born with a physical body and mind. This is the beginnings of the clay. During our lives we add more and more clay. We get to like the clay. We think our clay is better than other people’s clay. We forget that we are gold underneath. Hopefully, at some point in our lives, a bit of our clay breaks off and we see some gold. Once that happens, we’ll probably spend the rest of our lives trying to get the clay off and rejoicing in the gold we can see beneath. The important point for me is that we ALL have the same gold beneath all sorts of various clays that we’ve constructed over the years. At the level of the gold, nobody is better or worse than anybody else. I find this thought inspiring.