At the left click of the mouse my granddaughter appears barely a week old and with a right-click she is frozen into the hard drive. I remember sitting outside the Buddha Hall of Todai-Ji Temple in the mid-morning August sun the smiling at a baby waiting in her stroller for her mother to bow to the giant golden Buddha. I recall the soft touch of the young monk on my shoulder, his gentle smile, and in halting English, his saying “all babies have the face of the old man Buddha.” In the photos, the smile of my son is the smile on the face of Thay, the suppressed giggle that always lies below the surface of the face of Tenzin Gyatso. There is much I want to ask her, my little Leila, there is much she could offer, but I know that like all Buddhas she will respond with a smiling silence and set me back on my path.
The face in the mirror this morning was not mine, perhaps it was that of my grandparents, all I never met, having only old and faded pictures that vaguely resemble the mirror’s face.
It might be my parents, both dead before I found them only yearbook pictures and just possible a vague similarity to the face that i see in the mirror each day.
I tried to ask the mirror who it was hiding in the glass, but like most mirrors it was silent, a sad reflection of its ilk, so the old man peering out will continue to be someone that I have never met.