This account is based on real events. It provides a great analogy as to how our essence is hidden to protect ourselves. Our conditioning results from things that frighten us. These mindsets often remain even after the threat has passed
During the Burmese Siamese war in 1767, the Burmese army invades Thailand. They are very brutal; ravaging the land, burning, looting, and killing as they make their way to the capital.
In the course of their conquest, they come to a temple. They attack and kill all the monks and loot the treasure. They leave what seems worthless behind. One of the things they leave behind is a large clay statue of the Buddha.
After the war, conquering Thai King Rama I commissions the construction of many temples in the new capital city Bangkok. In 1801, he orders that various old Buddha images should be transported to these new temples from the ruined temples around the country. And so, the clay statue of the Buddha makes its journey by boat on the river to Bangkok. As it happens, the Buddha statue is too large to house inside the temple so they station it under a simple roof outside.
Almost two hundred years later, in 1955, workers are moving the clay statue to a new pagoda. As they do, it drops, and the plaster cracks. They marvel that the statue did not break apart completely and as they inspect it they realize there is something underneath. They discover it is, in fact, made of 18-carat gold.
The solid gold statue weighs almost five and a half tons, is three meters tall, and can be taken apart into nine interlocking pieces for easy transportation. It is worth more than 250 million dollars.
The Burmese army melted down the gold of the nations it conquered. In an attempt to save the Golden Buddha from this fate, the monks covered it with terracotta and glass.
The symbolism of this story is that we have unknown worth. We work so hard to protect ourselves from what we fear that we begin to identify with the mask or outer shell that we have created. Sometimes, it takes an experience that cracks that shell to remind us of the extraordinary gifts and potential that we carry.