While I don't ascribe myself to any particular religion, I grew up observing the superstitions and cultural traditions surrounding Daoism and Buddhism, to a lesser degree.
Our family didn't go to temple or burn incense to honor our ancestors or patron deities, except on very rare special occasions. We didn't observe a strict vegetarian diet. But we did have a few figures in our household--laughing Buddha, those three guys that represent prosperity, war and...er...something....(Larry, Curly and Moe?) And, of course, the gender-bending Guan Yin.
I have a particular fondness for Guan Yin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Our family owns one of the most beautiful ceramic statues of her I have ever seen--one that I've yet to see reproduced anywhere in the world.
Now that I own my own house, I felt it was time to bring my own Kuan Yin home to act as a kind of patron and reminder of my cultural roots.
I found this resin reproduction at a store in Fairview Mall, of all places. I've rarely seen her in this state of repose--usually she is standing or sitting with her hand in that Ohm position (forgive my ignorance on the Buddhist term for it), holding a little bottle. I was captivated by her serenity and the way she seemed to be getting ready to rise and take action.
At the lovely discounted price of $30, I couldn't say no. Now my office is a sanctuary.