In the tradition of Christ’s Socratic dialogue, I present to you a story while asking, “What think ye?” This gem of a story comes from Zen in 10 Simple Lessons by Anthony Man-Tu Lee and David Weiss:
Dan Xia taking shelter in a Buddhist temple on a cold evening found himself with little fuel for his meager fire and took down one of the Buddha images from the altar and added it to the embers. The temple custodian was appalled by his sacrilege and chastized Dan Xia for his irreverence. Dan Xia calmly took up a stick and began scratching about the embers, and replied: “I am looking for holy relics among the ashes.”
The puzzled and still furious custodian asked: “How can you get holy relics from a wooden Buddha?”
“If there are no relics to be found,” replied Dan Xia, “how can this be considered a Buddha, and if not a Buddha, how am I committing any sacrilegious act. Would you mind if I added the two remaining Buddhas to my fire?”
When I found this story I literally laughed out loud. When my wife heard me, she asked me what was so funny so I read this story to her and it upset her greatly. She took the side of the temple custodian, whereas I like way of Dan Xia’s thinking. So, my dear readers, what think ye?