How Many Buddhas Did You See?

In 2006 I was getting ready for my first trip to Bangkok. My photographer friend had been there before and I asked him for travel tips.

He told me about the abundance of buddhas in Thailand. “More abundant than statues of Mother Mary in the Philippines?” I asked. He said yes.

When I arrived in Bangkok, I saw what he meant. My friends and I visited Wat Pho, temple of the reclining Buddha, Wat Indravihan, home of the tallest Buddha, and the Grand Palace, the Disneyland of Buddhas. I then realized that perhaps their abundance of buddhas is just as widespread as Filipinos’ reverence for the crucifix, saints, and other Catholic symbols. We just don’t notice it because we grew up seeing churches everywhere and getting accustomed to Catholicism. But when we visit a foreign country with a completely different religion, we are in awe.

I wish I took note of the names and stories of all the buddhas I saw. I was too busy gloating over the golden zen that surrounded me.

Ever been to Thailand? Were you amazed at sight of all the buddhas and temples? Or have you ever been to the Philippines and said to yourself, “Wow, there sure are a lot of Catholic churches!”

Well, it’s my sister’s turn. She and her friends are heading to Bangkok next month and I can predict how her photo album will look like.

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