In Search of the Real Buddha

Shakyamuni BuddhaFor a modern Buddhist practitioner, the developed story and figure of the Buddha is a bit like a venerated piece of antique furniture, with a fine patina on it from centuries of handling by previous generations. We are also adding our own fingerprints to it. But trying to dig back to the “bare facts” of the Buddha’s life can be like stripping the patina off a fine antique—something many people would be wary of doing, since it might be disrespectful to the original. However, perhaps it is necessary, as the “antique” Buddha needs restoring, and doing so may reveal the various decorations that have been added over the centuries.
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