Buddhas I Have Known

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I have a vague memory of being dragged along on a shopping trip with my mom, to a department store in San Francisco. There we saw this Buddha. I was taken with the feeling it gave me, kind of an ancient memory of peacefulness.

A few years later, our father, driving us up to Sausalito, would always take a route by the Marina Green. There was a house there with a big bay window, and the window was filled with a large, old statue of the Buddha. A very generous gesture by the owner, whose front room was filled with the back end of a Buddha, which blocked much of his prized view. “Thank you Buddha”, my father would say, every time we drove by.

Along the 101 freeway in Redwood City, kind of between Toys R Us and the DMV, is a large Buddha.

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Evidently it’s a thing to leave an offering of bottled water. Also joss sticks or incense, and fruit are left.

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Turns out the Buddha sits on a structure containing a dumpster. The lotus grows out of the mud and all that.

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I drive by at least once a week, and like my father, I say, “thank you, Buddha”. I’m not into religion. There are places in Asia where Buddhists and Muslims are violent with each other. But in a secular way, I like the message of tranquility, inner peace, and generosity.

Sometimes I get anxious as I get near the Buddha, I have gotten distracted, and missed the thanking ritual, and felt like I missed something important. But the other night I figured out, I could say the same thing to any road sign, any bush, any fencepost by the freeway. Thank you, Buddha.

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