I've been thinking a lot lately about an old wooden Buddha statue that I saw in Japan a couple of years ago when My Rare One and I were there. It was at the Itsukushima Shrine on the southern island of Miyajima -- you know, the shrine with the famous red torii gate out in the water.
Anyway, there was this very old hand-carved wooden Buddha statue sitting in front of a little side temple adjacent to the main shrine. The wood was absolutely as smooth as glass from people rubbing their hands all over the statue for umpteen years, presumably for luck or in supplication to the Buddha.
The Buddha's wrists were adorned with several sets of prayer bead bracelets, perhaps from people whose entreaties had been answered or whose luck had changed. Or maybe just from those who wanted to honour the Enlightened One, I don't know.
I love little ritual gestures like this which arise spontaneously and uncommanded from people's deepest hearts.
[All photos © Debra She Who Seeks, April 2012]