My kids are at such great ages. Not only are they easy, but they are hilarious and great conversationalists. I often hear news stories or podcasts that I can't wait to share with them because they are such interested little sponges of knowledge.
Recently I heard a podcast on Criminal about a man who was tired of the area across from his house being a dumping spot for trash and a magnet for drug dealers and crime. After trying everything he could think of, for reasons kind of unknown even to himself, he went to the hardware store and purchased a concrete Buddha and stuck it there.
He wasn't religious, just fed up and desperate.
Soon after, he looked out and saw that someone had painted the statue a nice shade of white. Then he noticed that the Buddha had offerings of fruit and trinkets left near it. Eventually, Vietnamese women in robes were out there chanting and praying. A crowd began to assemble in the mornings to worship.
Crime dropped by 82%. Graffiti was practically non-existent. Prostitutes and drug dealers relocated.
Word got out that he had installed the statue, and people began knocking on his door with offerings of food, alcohol and candy. He would wave them away, explaining that it was their statue now and to do what they want with it and leave him out of it, but the offerings continue even now.
The lawn ornament has become a full-on shrine with flowers and a wooden structure and regular ceremonies dedicated to it with people coming from all over to visit. A happy ending for all.
The boys loved this story as much as I did.
"Mom, why a Buddha? Why did that work? The drug dealers are Buddhist or something?"
"No. The guy even said he picked Buddha because he's neutral. I don't know why, I guess it's no longer the right atmosphere for crime. He's just a calm, peaceful dude."
"Well, that's amazing." Big Kid declared. "This guy sat under a tree for 7 weeks and ended up solving crime centuries later."
"I don't know that it was 7 weeks, I think it was for years or something. I'm not sure though..."
"Mom, I think I would know, I've studied him." (I feel like I should know as someone who practices yoga and holds a teaching certification and who has certainly heard the story, but I dropped it because he probably does know.) "It was 7 weeks. Anyway, we should put Buddhas on all of the things. Can you imagine if we could time travel to Nazi Germany and just cover the place in Buddhas?"
"We should put one everywhere there's war!" little kid exclaimed. "Oh, oh, we should put one on top of every coffin and then grave robbers would stop robbing graves."
"Uh, I don't know that grave robbing is that common of an issue these days," I said.
"Well, I don't know. I guess a few freaks out there do it but I think that was more an issue in the olden days where dead bodies were needed for doctors to study, or when people were buried with a lot of jewelry or gold teeth. Nowadays, they're in concrete vaults and stuff."
"Well, I'm sure there's still some."
"A Buddha could stop it."
Ever since they've heard this story, "Shoulda put a Buddha on it," is the refrain to any sighting of graffiti or mention of crime.
My kids are convinced that Buddha can save the world and maybe they're right.