Years ago in Kathmandu we learned the eyes of the Buddha are always open, never blinking. On the temples they watched without emotion over the city and the valley beyond. In contrast the reclining Vishnu was asleep on the stone lilypads, larger than life, and dreaming the Universe.
This is the contrast presented by these two beliefs. One is alert to the moment itself while the other accepts the Maya of existence which
stretches out over a greater time and circumstance.
I always liked the idea of Buddhism which on a mundane level has gods, but says God is not necessary to believe the tenets Buddha set forth. Most religions acknowledge the DUKHA (sorrow) of the world, but few say to us “Get over it. Life is short and so is pain.” And, of course, the next footnote is “So is pleasure.”
In Theravada Buddhism the artwork represents Buddha in so many ways — standing, sitting, reclining, fat, thin, smiling and serious. Buddha was, of course, just a man who made no claim to being a god or starting a religion. We are human too. We are standing, sitting,
reclining, fat , thin, smiling and serious. We cannot look at the world around without blinking, but we can try.