My first experience going to a temple took place at a very young age. The one near my house is called the “Big Buddhist Temple.” Almost every Sunday, my mother would drag me to the temple and asked Buddha for good luck. She would kneel down on a pad in front of the giant golden statue of Buddha. I imitated her action and started praying by holding my palms together. Then she started saying, “My Gautama Buddha, please have mercy and bless my family.” She prayed for good health for the family, and wished that her relatives far away in the United States could have the best luck and earn more money. As the years passed, this practice became one of my weekly routines.
A special amulet that I received from my mom before immigrating to the United States from the Big Buddhist Temple was a lucky charm. It should bring me luck in my academic career. It has the traditional Chinese decoration of two knots sewn to a small wooden block. One side of the block contains the picture of Wenchange Emperor, who is the king of knowledge and studies. The other side is a big Chinese character which translated into “good fortune.” The red color of the lucky charm means good luck in the Chinese culture. I hung this lucky charm on the wall next to my desk. In my heart, I believed that it is the source of my good fortune. I always prayed to it before any important exam. Not only that, it is also a gift from my mom that reminds me her love and hope for the family.
– Xiao Yan Hu