The phone rang for unusual number of times today. My sister or her daughter is generally not that late to pick up a call.
When I heard my sister on the other side, I said – “Hi! didi, what are you doing? Where is Chinu?” Her response took me aback. She said – “Chinu and her dad is going to burry our fish, there were two both died today.” Chinu is my niece, who is ~5+ years currently.
I saw surprised, “when did you bring fish? Last time also the same happened.”
My sister responded – “Yes, we bought these two about a month back. Last time also the fish could not survive more than a month. Chinu was so attached to these fish that when these died she was very upset and felt very low.”
My sister continued – “when I could not handle here sorrow face, I told her, Chinu, both the fish were bored of swimming they both wanted to fly. Now they would become birds.”
My sister reads Jatak tales to her these days. Chinu was satisfied that both the fish are on their way to accomplish what they want to do. When her father called, she informed him also (this time with relatively more happily) – “daddy, both of them will fly now, they wanted to become birds.”
Chinu was at peace, she went to bury the fish as she did last time also. However, this time she was content. She did everything possible to have the fish and provide them with special fish food and good quality aquarium, but these could not survive.
Chinu was not upset. When I heard what my sister just said, I remembered an interesting scientific research published recently. This research was done at Stanford University. It falls under Social Psychology using priming as an approach. These things sound very complicated, let me elaborate these points –
According to psychologists social psychology is usage of scientific methods “to understand and explain how the thought, feeling and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of other objects.”
Priming is a phenomenon about exposing people to certain words or images that then subconsciously influence their thinking or behavior.
According to that research, if people are exposed to Buddhists concepts (experiment group included Western Christians, Western Buddhists and East Asian Buddhist individuals) people reacts to things positively more often.
QUOTE Huffington Post
Across all groups, people who were exposed to words like “Buddha,” “Dharma” and “awakening” in a word puzzle showed fewer negative associations with African and Muslim people than those who were exposed to Christian or nonreligious words.
Participants who were primed with Buddhist words also scored higher on a test measuring prosocial behaviors. These effects were particularly pronounced among people who scored higher on tests measuring open-mindedness.
Though, I myself have questions on the way research was done, what is the impact on before priming vs after priming etc yet when I relate this research to my niece I believe this must have some correlation.
I think that is why Kanakia ‘Sevens’ – a residential project – is advertised like this. Also I have been seeing a lot of photos/status etc of the Buddha at various places as “fashion” perhaps having subtle – unknown – meaning.
Image source – Kanakia Sevens
Aquarium Image source – Flickr