President Obama visited a 2,000 year old Buddhist pagoda in Burma, where he put his own spin on a traditional ritual of bathing a Buddha statue.
The Shwedagon pagoda contains individual buddhas that “correspond to the day you were born,” the pool report explains. Obama approached a Friday Buddha for the bathing ritual, but he didn’t pour as much water over the statue as he might have.
“I’m going to do it 11 times,” Obama told reporters, rather than the 52 that tradition would have seemed to require.
The spokeswoman said that traditionally people pour a cup of water over the Buddha for each year they are old, plus one. Potus arrived at his Buddha and announced, “I’m going to do it 11 times.” He then poured a cup of water over the Buddha’s left shoulder 11 times. After one or two, he asked his guide if he should pour it over the head or shoulder and was told he was right, it is the shoulder. After finishing he turned to the pool to explain why he chose 11. “I was dousing 11 flames,” he said, then gave one example-anger. The guide then gave a few others-lust, anger, hatred were the ones pool could hear. Evidently there are at least eight over flames. He explained that they are all types of emotions.