Don’T Worry, Be Happy. The Refuge Behinds Buddha’S Smile Essay

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My introduction to the Buddha was when I was eight, and it took the form of the “Laughing Buddha” (see attachment 5). I remember seeing it at my aunt’s house. It was very memorable, since he had a big stomach, with pudgy fingers holding on to some kind of beads. Back then I thought the beads were a rosary. Now that I’m older, I look back and treasure those moments of innocence, not to mention treasuring my newfound respect for certain beliefs, be they those of Buddhism or Christianity. I remember my aunt touching the Buddha’s tummy whenever she would talk about luck, prosperity, good health, evil spirits, etc. Before she’d leave the house, she’d touch the Virgin Mary and make the sign of the cross (we were born and raised Christian); then she’d touch the Buddha’s tummy, and she’d always say it was “for luck.” She told me that I should have my own little Buddha so that it would bring me luck with school, friends, my grades, etc. At that time, since I looked up to my elders, I believed it! Until high school, I’d have my own little colorful Buddha in my room, which, imitating my aunt, I rubbed every time I left for the day, and it comforted me to know that I’d be safe and that no evil spirits would lurk around me. My sister is a believer in feng shui; in fact, her house was designed by a feng shui consultant. She paid particular attention to the placement of doors, stairways, and windows. Placement of artwork and kinds of artwork were also considered. She, too, owns a little Buddha, which she has placed facing the front door, and she always tells me, “My Buddha absorbs the negative chi and emanates auspicious energy.” This biographical context brings me to the subject of my choices of artwork. For

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