At night, when everyone is asleep and all the lights are turned off, there is always a small room in my house glowing with red lights. In the middle of this small room, statues of elder figures are placed on a squared wooden table. This room is my family’s small escape from all our stress and worries, our little temple.
The statues on the table represent our gods and ancestors. Every night, my family would gather together and prepare fruits and food for the gods, light our incenses, and pray to the statues; we inform them all the things that are bothering us in our mind and ask them to give us advice and support. This routine has strengthened the bonds between my family members as well as our faith in the future as we pray together and allow ourselves to be vulnerable to each other. Buddhism has been a big part of my family’s life; the gods were always there when we felt clueless, hopeless, and helpless. Ever since my family first moved to the United States, this small temple has been there to console our worries through all the power and hope it has given us. Unlike in Taiwan, where large shrines and temples are accessible, the statues in our house has been a major way for our family to connect with the gods. It constantly reminds us that even when we are thousands of miles away from home, the gods are still there to protect us, so are our ancestors.To me, the connection I felt through praying has been a way for me to relieve my stress and remember my family in Taiwan.
– Alice Shih