Every once in a while, I just get lucky.

I’ve been searching for a large (at least 3 feet tall), sturdy, lovely, and affordable Buddha statue for the garden for years. All of the statues I found were either too small, not well made, not nice looking, or way too expensive. I kept looking.

I traveled to Hong Kong once with my best friend. We had an amazing time. Fish ball soup from the street vendors, the beautiful Chi Lin nunnery, Nan Lian Garden, Ding Ding, and Kowloon. The electrifying city skyline. The quiet countryside, surrounded in an ethereal haze all day. But the best of it by far was the day we geared up on our own and pilgrimaged to Lantau Island to see the Tian Tan Buddha.

After a long ferry ride, we arrived at the island, at the mouth of the Pearl River. From there, we took a public bus, a clanky, scary, vintage relic, to within a mile or so of sacred Po Lin (‘Precious Lotus’) Monastery. Then we climbed. After about an hour, we arrived at the foot of the 90-foot-tall, breathtaking Tian Tan Buddha. From there, we climbed the hundreds of steep steps to the statue platform.

Tian Tan Buddha was at one time the world’s largest seated outdoor bronze Buddha statue. It is a marvel. I did not want to leave that holy place. And even though attachment is all wrong, I so wanted something reminiscent of the Tian Tan Buddha in my garden someday.

Blessings abound, because I found it last week. This one is over 3 feet tall, and made of a particularly heavy resin, so it’s sturdy and outdoor-safe. It has a nice patina, and a soft, Persian brown hue. The detail is sharp. And yes, it was pricey, but not prohibitively so. It was so worth the cost.

Now I’m counting the hours until spring thaw, when I can seat the statue in a place of reverence in our garden. I hope to have the statue blessed before it takes up residence among the food and flowers.

Although I have been practicing Buddhism for nearly 9 years now, I consider myself a novitiate. Nine years is nothing. It’s a long, long process of discipline and discovery. But having just a few important reminders around – a thangka in the kitchen, an altar in the yoga room, a large Buddha statue in the garden – helps keep my feet on the Path. I consider this hard-earned money that has been well spent. And I’m so grateful. You just have no idea!

(By the way, pronounce the Indian आभारी as ‘Ābhārī’. It means ‘grateful’.)


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