Every second of every day, around the globe a King or Queen is born. Whether one rises to the occasion: the level of Martin Luther King, Jr., in this lifetime, is a matter of choosing.
Since its inception, over 3000 years ago by Prince Siddhartha, who later became known as Sakyamuni Buddha, buddhism has taught that a buddha is simply an enlightened human being. Just like Sakyamuni who happened to be born into royalty in his lifetime, Martin Luther King, Jr. was an ordinary human being. The Jr. after his name has always given me pause to wonder what his father Martin Luther King, Sr. achieved in his lifetime. He too must have been a great man.
Upon investigation, I learned that both men were once named Michael King, Sr. and Michael King Jr. The senior had both their names changed to Martin Luther after a trip to Germany where he was inspired by Martin Luther, the German theologian responsible for the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther King, Sr. established Ebenezar Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia and laid the foundation for the civil rights movement. For four decades Martin Luther King, Sr. was pastor of Ebenezar Baptist Church and his leadership inspired the young Martin Luther King, Jr. to follow in his footsteps and finish his work. The story is one of inspiration and passion which affected ordinary men to rise to greatness.
Sakyamuni Buddha emerged as the original Buddha long ago in India and spread the teaching that we all have the Buddha or Godlike nature within us. A message which was fully manifested in the lives of these two great men. Each of them, including Sakyamuni, started as ordinary human being and awakened something dormant inside, something we all possess.
This among the reasons for the Buddhist practice of ‘bowing to the Buddha’ in everyone. Perhaps the most significant example that this is possible, in our time is the transformation of Malcolm X. No one is exempt from greatness. It is a matter of choosing it.