Buddha Box

I acquired the blessed thing on an express train from Hsinchu to Taichung.  A middle aged man with shaven head, orange robes, serene smile and half closed eyes, pulled it from an orange satchel and pressed it into my hands.  I thanked him and smiled for a moment before realizing, newly arrived and still perplexed by the ways of the East, that some contribution was in order.  Pulling a fifty kuai note from my pocket, I smoothed it reverently before placing it into his bowl.  He smiled, bowed his head and continued down the aisle.

Jet black and made of plastic, the box was clearly made to fit the average palm of an average hand.  It looked like an old style transistor radio, one with strange markings all along the front and an image of a charcoal brazier printed in gold ink alongside its single round speaker.  On the top edge of the box was a grooved volume knob, which I switched on.  Melodic feminine voices sprung forth.

Naaaa - ma aaa - mi to-o-o fo, nama ami to fo, nama.

Naaaa - ma aaa - mi to-o-o fo, nama ami to fo, nama.

A woman sitting in the seat across the aisle smiled at me, and though I’d felt at peace before switching the box on, I now felt especially tranquil.  I held the box in my average sized palm as the melodic chant continued its loop eternal (or at least until the battery gave out).  I felt one with Taiwan, at one with the universe.  My only concern was how they’d gotten a choir of nuns into the box in the first place, and what might happen should they suddenly decide it was time to leave.