Headless Buddha

I took this shot of a headless Buddha when I visited the Borobudur temple about a week ago. I wasn’t planning on writing about it, but every time I look at the picture my head starts spinning. To me, the figure embodies the current world around us both the good and the bad.

Most of the buddhas in this temple, and others around the world (especially Thailand) remain headless as humans were stealing them in the past to sell them for tens of thousands of dollars in the black market to private collectors from the US, Europe, and recently, Asia. But even before that, in some other parts of the world, the heads have also been destroyed by clashes between different kingdoms. For example, the Burmese Army invaded and destroyed most of the Ayutthaya Kingdom in Thailand around 1767. During this period, most of the temples were destroyed, even though the Burmese were also Buddhists.

It’s a shame that events like these happen, but it’s also beautiful to see how the world gets shaped by different points of views, and interests throughout history.


We have to learn to live and accept events like these. But we should also study them and understand what they mean to us, and the world in general, so we don’t repeat them in the future. Even if we cannot control them, there may be a chance to prevent them.