Wednesday, 23 July 2008

The Great Gawd Budd

A reminder, a link

On a mountain top on Lantau, a large island administratively part of Hong Kong, stands a colossal bronze Buddha. On the hot, damp day last week when I visited, his mountain top stood buried in the cloud base.

As implied in the verse by Kipling from which this article’s heading was taken, the British have a long tradition of not respecting such beliefs. András Pető’s acceptance of Buddhist and other Eastern understandings would not have endeared him to mainstream British opinion, nor possibly mainstream opinion in much else of the Western world (possibly a reason for his two books in German having been so shunned by CE-enthusiasts in the German-speaking countries!).

Many authors have mentioned Pető’s interest in Eastern religion but no one has yet explored what this actually amounted to, nor indeed what if any implications this might have had in the early development of Conductive Education. Simply, no one involved in Conductive Education has had the interest or the knowledge to take this question up. In China, however, in Hong Kong or on the Mainland, there might yet be such a person…

The swastika on the Big Buddha’s chest represents Dharma, universal harmony, and the balance of opposites. When facing left, as on the Big Buddha it represents love and mercy. All this is rather different from what this ancient symbol came to represent during Pető’s lifetime, and the effect that this had both upon his own life and upon the circumstances out of which Conductive Education sprang.


Notes

The Big Buddha, Lantau Island
http://chris.vandenberghe.org/photos/places/hk/2007_08_August/2007_07_29_HK_IMG_1215.jpg.html

Kipling, R, Mandalay
http://www.online-literature.com/kipling/barrack-room-ballads/14/

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