We parked on a sidestreet and just decided to walk in and out of shops looking at all sorts of knickknacks. I knew I would know what I was looking for...when I found it. I think I just opened myself to the right thing finding me...and enjoying time with my son. I love spending time with him and seeing the world through his eyes.
He had only one request/destination...a candy shop that he loves. So we walked, we window shopped, we people watched....we looked at all sorts of things and talked to many interesting people.
We walked into a shop and I rubbed the belly of large happy Buddha by the front door. I walked in and looked at all the things....one thing about Chinatown...every shop is small and crowded with all sorts of items. Looking for something specific is futile...like a needle in a haystack.
So as I wandered the shop, a sweet little Asian woman came up to me. She asked what I was looking for....I responded, "I am not really sure. I think I will know when I find it."
She took my arm and walked me to an aisle of shelves. She started telling me about the Buddhas on the shelf....How did she know that is what I wanted? Each "style" of statue had a story....
One caught my eye...she was unique....there was not another on the shelf (among the 100's) like her and I had not seen one like her at all in our shopping. I felt drawn to her. The woman told me the Buddha I had chosen helps people with problems.The old woman took my arm again....she pulled me to the back of the store to show me an altar. She told me that was what I was to do with my Buddha. She explained every part of the altar in broken English to my son and I. I stood, towering over this woman, suddenly feeling very small. I was entranced by her. She then reached onto her shirt and pulled out a mala she was wearing. She took hold the one I was wearing and looked up at me holding hers and mine at the same time. I felt as though I was in the presence of something special. We stood for a moment...quiet in the back of the store. She let go, took my arm again and took me to another part of the store. She showed me a 3 sided gold Buddha ....I loved it. She then disappeared, returning a few minutes later with a box for my 2 figures.
My son felt the need to have a Buddha from the same place and got a tiny one. We stood at the counter with her as she carefully wrapped our figures and placed them into boxes and a bag. As we left, she took my arm again.....she pulled me out of the store (hhmm....she was done with us!) and on the street she pointed...She told me where to go to get the statues blessed at a small temple.
We walked around the streets, visited the candy shop, saw some interesting medicinal items for sale, ate some amazing dim sum and then found the temple to get the statues and other items we purchased blessed.
When we got home I did a little research on the statue I had bought.
Well. The statue is of Guan Yin/Kwan Yin. She is synonymous with the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the pinnacle of mercy, compassion, kindness and love. Being of bodhi or enlightenment, one who has earned to leave the world of suffering and is destined to become a Buddha, but has forgone the bliss of nirvana with a vow to save all children of god. In Sanskrit she's known as Padma pani - "Born of the Lotus", the lotus symbolizing purity, peace and harmony. Commonly known in the West as the Goddess of Mercy. She has been compared to the Virgin Mary. Quan Yin is a shortened form of a name that means One Who Sees and Hears the Cry from the Human World.
Anyone who knows me, knows my devotion to Mary. I wear my heart and my faith on my sleeve. The fact that this Buddha is the Goddess of Mercy....the Goddess of compassion, kindness and love....the one who sees and hears the cries of the world....was not lost on me. The right Buddha had, in fact, found me. Quan Yin had found her way home.