A few years ago my husband and I moved to a beautiful Maui property complete with a stream, fruit trees, tropical flowers of many kinds and a huge, 10,000 square foot greenhouse. The greenhouse posed a bit of a problem for us, as we didn’t know what to do with it. At first we thought it a detriment and considered tearing it down, but as time went by God began “planting seeds” about what might grow there. A vision of a peace garden began to unfold and I named the property, The Sacred Garden of Maliko. I began building a Chartres Cathedral labyrinth under a beautiful grove of Kukui trees as a walking meditation and envisioned creating sacred spaces where people could come and experience the beauty and tranquility of the garden.One day while my sister was here visiting, we were driving to the other side of the island to get out of a long rainy spell we were having. As we drove, an idea popped into my head and I said, “You know what I need? A giant Buddha for the greenhouse. I want one that has a really sweet, peaceful presence that people feel the minute they walk in.”
She replied, “Yeah, that would be really great.”
I then proceeded to explain to her why I thought this was a ridiculous, if not impossible, idea. “I have no idea where to get a giant Buddha on a small island. If I give money to an importer to get me one, they may not pick one out that has the quality and presence I’m looking for—after all, not all Buddha statues are created equal.” She agreed as I continued my lament, “If I go to Bali or somewhere to get one, I have to pay for shipping and figure out how to get it back. I have no idea how or where to get one, I just know that I need one.”
This conversation went on for about ten minutes with no solutions, when I looked over toward the sunny side of the island. “Shoot, it looks like it is raining over there too. While we wait for the rain to clear, let’s stop at the bamboo store to see if they have any trim we might be able to use to decorate the greenhouse.” My sister was game so we diverted our direction and within minutes pulled up in front of the bamboo store, which was clearly closed on this Sunday morning.
I sighed loudly, feeling defeated, and noticed that the furniture store next door was just opening. “Well, let’s go look at furniture while we wait for the weather to clear. They usually have some cool stuff in there.”
No sooner did we walk in the door and take ten steps inside when we I exclaimed, “Oh my God, there he is!” There in front of us, just inside the front door of the furniture store was the most beautiful, sweetest giant Buddha I had ever seen. I stood there in awe, my mouth-and my heart-wide open. (How “giant,” you ask? About 600 pounds of solid wood-five feet tall, four feet wide and two and half feet deep-giant.)
The sales lady walked over and said, “If there is anything I can help you with, let me know,” and then graciously sat behind her desk to let us shop.
I took one more glance at the Buddha, checked his price tag and then walked to her desk and sat down. “Here is the problem.” She glanced up, “I love that Buddha. I want that Buddha, and I can’t afford that Buddha.” (Keep in mind, I didn’t have a “Buddha Budget” because I had only thought of the idea of getting one just moments earlier.)
She said cheerfully, “Well, make me an offer!”
I had no idea where to begin “making an offer” and sat there for a moment with my mind reeling. I was still trying to grasp the reality that we had actually found the giant Buddha without even Buddha shopping!
Seeing that I was speechless, my sister jumped in and made an offer that was nearly half of what they were asking. The saleslady said, “Let me call the owner and see what he says.” Then in true sales-person fashion, “If he says yes, are you prepared to buy the Buddha today?”
My ego mind was still having a hard time believing this was happening and began to come up with reasons why we could not, but with my sister’s coaching, we quickly assured her that “we were indeed prepared to take the giant Buddha home.”
“Give me a minute.” And she picked up the phone while my sister and I made our way back to the Buddha.
I whispered to him, “If you want to come home with me to be a blessed part of The Sacred Garden, you are going to have to make this work ’cause I just can’t spend more than this. I leave this up to you.” My sister and I then walked around the store looking at the furniture, waiting to see what would happen..
Shortly, the saleswoman walked over and said, “You are never going to believe this. A man has been negotiating for this Buddha all week long going back and forth with the owner of the store and the consignee—the owner of the Buddha. They finally agreed on the rock bottom price they would accept from him yesterday and he was supposed to come in and pay for it by five o’clock last night—but, he never showed up. You two walked in at opening this morning and offered the exact same amount. The owner of the store didn’t even have to ask the consignee, he already knew they’d take this price. The Buddha is yours.”
My heart leapt. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even have to negotiate for him! As I paid for the Buddha, my mind tried to race to catch up with the fact that only about fifteen minutes had passed from the inception of the idea to the finding and purchase. The Sacred Garden continues to unfold as God reveals each new piece of the puzzle to me—while sitting peacefully in front of the world’s sweetest, giant Buddha.