No Hopper means yes Sacré Coeur, Paris’ hilltop basilica of stark white marble and modern insides, a church romantically draped in pretty vines and flowers in the springtime, happy memories from which my family and I snapped a spread of us all–Maman, Papa, Yannick, and Graham–back six years ago for our European vacation, Van Doo meets the Griswalds.
Now, it’s is me and the Mekong Sunset Junkies, and the rain sends us someplace I’ve never been here, which is inside the actual basilica, and truth be told, I find the only warmth emanating from the radiators, its inside decor leaving much to be desired.
No matter, for it’s riddled with Christian trivia, and Sara and I nerd out on the symbolism and meanings and what not.
Then, we see it, dots I never would have connected were it not for the oh-so-recent excursions to Asian monasteries–it’s Buddha Jesus, our Christian lord and savior with hand extended and other hand on heart, the Buddha gesture of healing, acceptance, bridging east and west, and now, I get it that like the Buddha, we have a Jesus for every day of the week, for every occasion, from Jesus on the cross to reposing Jesus to dead Jesus to baby Jesus and Mary.
It’s not so dissimilar to the Hindu gods, each incarnation of the JC a snapshot of the human experience, a trial or tribulation, the difference being monotheism prefers to keep its posse of symbolic beings to a lonely one and that polytheism finds a panoply of gods more interesting for commentary on humanity’s struggles.
Now, here, in Sacré Coeur, Jesus is Buddha and Buddha is Jesus and Jesus is love and Buddha is love. Just like the Dalai Lama says, the truth is the same regardless of how you dress it up, it’s just that some of us are more comfortable donning friar haircuts and brown cloaks, others orange togas, and that sometimes, it’s easier to see the light when you view it through a lens culturally relevant to where you come from.