the buddha fields series
excerpt from a lecture, UNC, Mari Michener Gallery, 1997
The Buddha sat beneath a tree.
As legend tells us, by dawn of the next morning He awoke, from a sleep that all beings tire from, though few rarely turn from.
Now, more than two-and-a-half millennia later, images of this Prince Siddartha who became known far and wide as Shakyamuni Buddha the Sage of the Sakyas, are commonly recognized throughout the varied and diverse cultures of our planet.
Through His teachings and His presence it became clear that His clan, the Sakyas, a clan of warriors, had a specific name and earthly history. As heir to their noble lineage by birthright, this was not the only definitive group that he ruled. His clan is actually all of humanity not bounded by place, family, convention and culture, nor by time. His monarchy-warriorship allowed Him to rule in a way that was universal, offering refuge, peace, and lasting liberation for all beings. In this way, He became fondly described as a Universal Monarch, an earthly title for all Buddhas of the past and for future Buddhas to come.