Why the Buddha laughed?

“Come with me.”  He stood up, as if time was vital.  “Come.  I will show you the innermost secret of life.  Come.”  He walked quickly round to the colonnade.  I followed him upstairs.  There he pushed me out onto the terrace.
“Go and sit at the table. With your back to the sun.”
In a minute he appeared, carrying something heavy draped in a white towel. He put it carefully on the center of the table. Then he paused, made sure I was looking, before gravely he removed the cloth. It was a stone head, whether of a man or a woman it was difficult to say. The nose had been broken short. The hair was done in a fillet, with two side-pieces. But the power of the fragment was in the face. It was set in a triumphant smile, a smile that would have been smug if it had not been so full of the purest metaphysical good humor. The eyes were faintly Oriental, long, and as I saw, for Conchis put a hand over the mouth, also smiling. The mouth was beautifully modeled, timelessly intelligent and timelessly amused.
“That is the truth. Not the hammer and the sickle. Not the stars and stripes. Not the cross. Not the sun. Not gold. Not yin and yang. But the smile.”
“It’s Cycladic, isn’t it?”
“Never mind what it is. Look into its eyes.”
He was right. The little sunlit thing had some numen – or not so much a divinity, as a having known divinity – in it; of being ultimately certain. But as I looked, I began to feel something else.
“There’s something implacable in that smile.”
“Implacable?” He came behind my chair and looked down over my head. “It is the truth. Truth is implacable. But the nature and meaning of this truth is not.”
“Tell me where it came from.”
“From Didyma in Asia Minor.”
“How old is it?”
“The sixth or seventh century before Christ.”
He sat on the parapet, his arms folded.
“I wonder if it would have that smile if it knew of Belsen.”
“Because they died, we know that we still live. Because a star explodes and a thousand worlds like ours die, we know this world is. That is the smile: that what might not be, is.” A long silence. Then he said, “When I die, I shall have this by my bedside. It is the last face I want to see.”

~ John Fowles, from The Magus (ch 23)

2 Responses to “Why the Buddha laughed?”

  1. Modelling & Architecture Says:

    Markedly well written writing

  2. dancing with the stars 13 Says:

    My family members every time say that I am wasting my
    time here at net, but I know I am getting knowledge everyday by reading thes nice content.

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