Hand To Heaven Hand To Earth
In Thomas Merton's significant Asian Journal, he writes about his eastern travels, conversations and studies. Here he is commenting on Marco Pallis' paper on "Is There Room For 'Grace' In Buddhism?":
"The Buddha's right hand points downward to touch the earth; the other hand supports a begging bowl, symbolizing acceptance of the gift... grace. Pallis says,'In the two gestures displayed by the Buddha image the whole program of man's spiritual exigencies are summed up.' An active attitude toward the world and a passive attitude toward heaven. The ignorant man does the opposite: he passively accepts the world and resists grace, gift and heaven."The photograph is taken from my fine-art photographer friend, Mark Hemmings' Japan collection.