For part of vacation, Sam and I took a day tour to the northernmost part of Thailand. We stopped at the White Temple in Chaing Rai. It is this huge temple dedicated to Buddha, of course, but it is interesting because of it's depiction of Heaven and Hell. As you go up the walk way to the entrance you walk through "Hell". A sea of searching, reaching hands burst forth from the ground trying to escape... Some hold skulls. The walkway continues with fearsome dragons and finally you go into the temple or "Heaven/Nirvana".
We weren't allowed to take pictures, but I wish we could have. The inside was equipped with a gold statue of Buddha and a wax monk who was meditating under it. The walls were covered in the most elaborate, beautiful, and sad paintings. They had painted all these depictions of western figures like Captain Jack Sparrow, Batman, Michael Jackson, and Spiderman in a crumbling hellish city rimmed with erupting volcanoes.
Then all the righteous and devout Buddhists were escaping the flames and flying on magic carpets to Nirvana. Nirvana was all bright and beautiful, and many headed Buddhas lined the streets. Sam and I gaped at the beauty and gaped at the absence of Christ.
We also stopped at the Long Neck Karen village. It was a very interesting display of culture and how religion dictates life. I was the most surprise, however, when I saw a carving of our Jesus on the cross with his followers lamenting under him. I was struck, and before I could say anything one of the women noticed me staring. She came over, pointed at God's son and said, "Jesus." I looked at her aghast and then back at the carving and said to myself, "Jesus, how did you get here? Who brought you to these people?"
The woman who knew about Jesus. I bought the carving because it was a reminder that people I do not know and have not seen or heard of are speaking about our Christ. The woman of Karen may not have known anything more than His name, but that is a start.