… and a dedication …

Many years ago I spent a little time in Thailand. I had gone there to try to enter, at least in some small way, into the extraordinary inner peace and serenity which, years earlier, I had experienced when, for the first time, I had entered a Buddhist temple. Now, several years later, among the many temples I visited in Bangkok was one which specially intrigued me – Wat Phra Keaw – the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. According to my guide, this particular temple had been built at the time of King Mongkut.[1]


The king, impressed by the stories he had heard of England and the wonders its factories could produce, had ordered a shipload of fine English china for the royal palace. En route the ship ran into a typhoon in the Gulf of Siam. When its cargo eventually was salvaged and unpacked, everything inside the crates was found smashed to pieces. Rather than bewailing his loss, King Mongkut ordered a temple to be built in honour of the Lord Buddha with all the broken pieces of porcelain worked into those most beautiful patterns which now covered the temple’s entire façade [2]

So it is that I would like

to dedicate

this entire work

to

those countless hundreds – thousands – millions,

in the pain and brokenness of whose lives and hearts,

the light of the God “Who Is” shines forth;

and,

on

a more immediately personal level,

to dedicate this present volume

to

Father Ted Kennedy,

long, the voice of the prophet

raised in this land,

speaking for – caring for –

“the broken reeds” of our time –

and,

a true friend

and

my brother

in life – in Christ.




  1. 1. King Mongkut’s name first entered the minds of popular western culture through the story of Anna and the King of Siam, later to become even more widely known through Yul Brynner’s role in the musical, The King and I. In the crass way we westerners often seem capable of acting when, uninvited, we presume to intrude into the sacred centre of another culture, or another person, this play, and the later musical, are not creations of which necessarily to be overly proud. Certainly, in our culture, they have been accepted as delightful entertainments; in Thai eyes, they merely debased the memory of a truly great king.
  2. 2. The truth of this story is vouched for by the Cultural Attaché of Thailand and Tourist Authority of Thailand. It is included here, both because it is a perfect parable with which to sum up the human condition, at the same time as it gives a wonderful insight into something which lies very close to the heart of Siddarth’s, the Lord Buddha’s teaching – as it does to that of Jesus, the Christ …

    broken bread … a broken body … a broken people.”

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