Little Buddha

Published Date: January 1st, 2010
Category: Weekly Thought


“What’s enlightenment, mean, Mama?”

he asked.

Right. And I walked right into this one. As usual.

To back it up, we were having a play date at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Which, if you have never been, you must go to immediately. It is this beautiful oasis smack dab in the middle of the West Side. With parking. And it’s free.

 It is like going on a mini vacation in the middle of winter. It houses beautiful rooms with names like “The Palm Room,” “The Aroid House,” or my favorite, Dale Chihuly’s “Garden of Glass,” which displays his gorgeous yellow glass lily pads floating on a pool of Japanese carp.

It really just doesn’t get any better than that on a snowy Wednesday afternoon.

Anyway, we were participating in the Children’s Scavenger Hunt, which encourages children to find pictures of specific flowers or plants within the Conservatory, yielding them a sticker.

Our last find was the Sacred Fig Tree.

No joke.

I, of course, started making fun of it until I read its caption:

“It has been said that Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism, found enlightenment under a sacred fig tree thousands of years ago.”

Which prompted me to FRANTICALLY look for this Sacred Fig Tree. Who knew I could find enlightenment at the Garfield Park Conservatory?

After we found it (and I literally stood beneath it to mediate for a few minutes. Alas—no instant enlightenment), I read the above caption to G.

To which he asked his Big Daddy Enlightenment Question of the Day.

How does one explain enlightenment to a 4-year-old?

Mind you, I actually know a bit about Buddhism and have family members who are practicing Hindus, so enlightenment is not a new concept to me. But did I really need to go into the four stages of enlightenment, the euphoria of nirvana, and the meaning of karma?

Probably not. Instead, I just said,

“Enlightenment is when you finally figure it all out. And you get inner peace.”

To which he bobbed his little head up and down, murmured, “inner peace” with a knowing look in his eye, and ran off to play with his new friends.

Therefore, in honor of my little Buddha, I have decided to make 2010 a year of enlightenment for me. Maybe a year where I finally attain some inner peace. Or at the very least, find some new friends to run off with.

And I urge you to do the same…

This entry was posted on Friday, January 1st, 2010 at 11:35 pm and is filed under Weekly Thought. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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