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    Oh, those wacky Buddhists…

    I know a number of religious fundamentalists. But, no, they’re not Christian. Not even Muslim. And, nope, not Zoroastrian, either.

    They’re Buddhist. And among the reasons for their holier-than-thou-ness is they think Buddhism is “smarter” than other religions. They think Buddhists are more about critical inquiry than unfounded belief, not prone to superstition or magical thinking. And the intellectual icing on the arrogant cake is the notion that modern day Quantum Physics supports 2500-year old Buddhist beliefs.

    Of course these are American Budddists, most of whom have never visited Buddhist countries, where people routinely pray to “Lord Buddha” in order to improve their chances of winning the lottery, or make donations to the local temple be assured of a better rebirth.

    Well, this news story might hammer a nail into the “Buddhists are smarter than other religion’s followers” coffin:

    Buddha wasp hiveROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) _ The Cambodian Buddhist community in Rochester is abuzz over what they believe is a miracle: a wasp nest in the shape of a seated Buddha built in the eaves of their temple.

    The nest was spotted last week. Elder members of the community say they have never seen an apparition of the Buddha in their lifetimes.

    Seventy-year-old Voeun Sor of Rochester says the hive shows the Buddha is trying to tell everybody to seek peace in their lives.

    Robert Jeanne is an entomology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He says the Buddha-shaped hive could actually be four different nests formed over a couple of years. He says if someone wants to read miracles into that, that’s their privilege.

    Moeun Ngop is a 76-year-old monk. He has a more mystical take. He says the insects are trying to communicate Buddha’s message.

    I can only respond with an ancient Buddhist expression: Oy, vey!

    Now the followers of Siddhartha Gautama have joined the “Virgin Mary is in my French Toast” and the “Jesus is in the wood grain of my bathroom door” Christians.

    Ignoring that for a second, let’s take a gander at the rest of the impressive reasoning going on here.

    “The hive shows the Buddha is trying to tell everyone to seek peace…” Uhhh… hello? This is a WASP’S NEST! If it was a chorus line of butterflies dancing in the shape of the Buddha, sure. But WASPS?! Not the first insect that comes to mind when I free associate about “peace” (which, by the way, is praying mantis).

    “The insects are trying to communicate the Buddha’s message…” Not very well, I’d say. If I was trying to communicate the Buddha’s message, I’d try, oh, WORDS, not an image that looks all puffy, like the Buddha after he’s been stung by a a few thousand wasps.

    And, to get technical, how are we to explain that the wasps learned the Buddha’s message in the first place? Buddhist teaching says that one reason being born as a human is so precious is because this is the only form of life that gives you the opportunity to hear the Buddha’s message.

    Alright, alright… perhaps I’m being a bit too hard on the 76-year old guy. He’s a monk. He doesn’t get out much. And, having had my share of wasp nest encounters, I understand the confusion. Just listen for a minute and you can hear the little stingers engaging in a veritable non-stop spiritual practice, repeating over and over the mantra, “Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…..”

    13 Responses to “Oh, those wacky Buddhists…”

    1. Madison Says:

      I kind of see the buddha but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. If I was a Buddhist I would relate better. The french toast I got. To each his own.

    2. Stacy Says:


      Where does one find friends that wouldn’t latch on to this and other equally nonsensical stuff?

      I can’t visit the local Unity church or Dances of Universal Peace or any of that with any shred of an idea that I will find like-minded company there, anymore.

      My fingers were poised over the keyboard to reply to someone on another list who reported finding a fire extinguisher in her relationship corner, and I just stopped. Why bother?

      I could explain that most likely feng shui evolved into superstition because some merchants who understood that trade likely came via living and working near a port or a river tried to explain it to a community that didn’t understand. It got boiled down to “water equals prosperity” and now some people put cute little fountains in their homes that would *never* deliver a boat carrying saleable goods.

      The Buddha, if such a man ever existed, and wasn’t a conglomeration of other teaching stories gleaned from several wise people, as a person, might have imparted some wisdom if you hung out with him, but a statue? Might serve as a reminder of clean living or it might remind me to meditate, but that’s about it.

      I’m sure I have a ton of superstitions left to question – where are others who are questioning their superstitions?

      I’m waiting for the little icons of Byron Katie to show up in the next wasp’s nest, even.

    3. Stever Robbins Says:

      Oh, Steven. I always feel so sorry for you. You obviously don’t “get” Buddhism. See, if you weren’t so attached to your need for logic and coherence, you would understand that a wasp’s nest in the form of a seated Buddha is EXACTLY appropriate.

      You see, Buddhists don’t need to know the Buddha intends peace. They already know it.

      So who needs the message from the Buddha? I’ll give you a hint. Most of them have pale skin. They’re descended from the English ethnic groups in England. And … they’re not Catholic.

      Yes, you are now enlightened as to the true answer: W.A.S.P.s most need this critical message of peace from the Buddha.

      Thus, the image of the Buddha appeared in a wasp’s nest.

      Two more cycles on the wheel of reincarnation for you, my boy…

    4. Stever Robbins Says:

      … and Stacy, if you stand on your head and look at the wasp’s nest, it looks kind of like Byron Katie (at least, it looks like how she’d look if she were shaped like an upside-down Buddha made of wasp’s nest).

      I feel privileged to be able to assist in yours and Steven’s enlightenment. It’s so much WORK being me…

    5. Ron Grubaugh Says:

      Someday, somewhere, I am sure that it is a mathematical certainty, that somone’s dog will make a “deposit,” shall we say, which looks exactly like _______. (Obviously, you fill in the blank.) Some adherent will then drive himself insane trying to figure out whether he honors or dishonors ______ by anouncing this miracle to the world. I am looking forward to this event with baited anticipation.

    6. ellen Says:

      Ah, Ron Grubaugh, any truly enlightened being worth his chips would point out that there is no difference between the sacred and the profane, so the question of whether or not to announce the holy manifestation in the doggie-doo does not even arise for the enlightened mind.
      The more interesting question might be: Why does it arise in my mind?
      If you drove yourself insane for a few years figuring that one out you might wind up with something of more value than evidence, you might discover the wondrous schmevidence and live forever after in pot noodle nirvana. Happy hunting. 😉

    7. ellen Says:

      That free association of ‘peace’ with a praying mantis caused me to raise my eyebrows as I used to keep mantids as a child. A lady praying mantis always rips off the male’s head towards the end of mating and then makes a leisurely meal of the poor chap, rather more ‘preying black widow’ than anything like a peaceful prayer in my free association. Each to his own indeed.

      According to buddhism, being born as a human gives the opportunity to benefit from the teaching- but what is less obvious is that the oddity of being born as a human, i.e. an animal that rejects its animal status, of itself gives rise to the problems, weirdness and complexities that the edifice of thought, both religious and scientific, attempts to resolve. With, naturally, more thought.
      I remember coming home from school one day and announcing to my staunchly Catholic mother that I had learned that we were all descended from apes. My mother was highly indignant and said in a very superior tone: “You might have descended from a monkey but I, most certainly, did not.”

      Oh, to be a simple, peaceful, praying mantis, the female of the species, of course.

    8. Sam Says:

      To see the universe in a grain of sand
      And heaven in a wildflower,
      Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
      And eternity in an hour …… William Blake

      To see Jesus in a slice of bread,
      Elvis on a tissue in the phlegm marks of a sneeze
      To behold Mary’s image in a tire’s tread,
      And see Gautama in the excrement of bees.

      Blake would have been proud.

    9. Sam Says:

      I didn’t have time to rhyme “wasps”.
      Sue me.

    10. Steven Sashen Says:

      Wasps doesn’t rhyme with orange,
      but there are some in my door hinge.

    11. Sam Says:

      You lost me Steven. I thought I might change Blake’s visions quote to apply to those who see Jesus & Elvis & now the buddha.

      Where would I have rhymed with Orange? Please ‘splain. An inside joke? trying to figure it out is hurting my head.

    12. sashen Says:

      I loved your rewriting Blake… but since I couldn’t think of anything to rhyme with wasps, I went for the higher degree of difficulty move of rhyming something with “orange” (and including wasps) 😉

      Not something to *add* to your brilliant work. Just a poetic response.

    13. Sam Says:

      I’ll make it an inside joke of mine.

      Thanks, my head’s not hurting anymore.





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