I was born in Zhejiang, China and moved to the United States when I was just four. At the age of eight I went back to China over to summer to visit my family. One of the places I visited was a Buddhist temple where I was given a Buddha bead bracelet. My mom told me that if I kept it safe by my side, it would keep me safe. I didn’t bring many things back from the trip, but I have kept this bracelet for almost 8 years. Growing up, I didn’t really understand the meaning of this bracelet. I never asked my mom about the bracelet. One day I just couldn’t take it anymore. I took it upon myself to figure out the meaning. There was a little Buddha and a Chinese character on each bead of the bracelet. The Chinese character on it was 佛 (pronounced fu) which translates to Buddha. Now I understood what my mom meant. It wasn’t just a bracelet rather something that can help me remember where I came from. The belief of my family for generations and generations was slowly being instilled in me. There are many other objects in my house that are related to my culture and religion and it is important to be exposed to these objects so I can connect and have a deeper understanding of them and what they really mean to my family.
– Jiayu Tang