Since our daughter was born, on vacations, my wife and I have gravitated away from hotels and into vacation rentals — VRBO, the problematic AirBnB — which, when traveling with a small child, are just easier.
We just returned from such a trip; a couple mornings ago, over breakfast and coffee, and I noticed an empty green bottle sitting on the shelf of one of the dining room’s built-in cabinets. Upon closer inspection, aha, Buddha Beer. I’ve seen Buddha Buddha on the Internet, listed among many other dharmaburgers on the old Worst Horse Site, for example. Never seen it in the wild.
Thinking more over coffee, I remarked to my wife that in all the vacation rentals we’ve stayed in over the past several years, I’m fairly certain that almost all of them have had some sort of Buddha-inspired home décor element: a throw pillow with a fake Buddha quote; an anachronistic Buddha-head sculpture on the mantle; Tibetan prayer flags. It’s a small sample size, but it speaks to the ubiquity of Buddhism-as-home-decoration that wherever we go, there he is.
My wife further speculated that it speaks to the taken-for-grantedness of Buddhism as relaxing. These houses are vacation homes, after all, places you go to get away from everything, to be restful and calm, and so, of course, Buddhism stands in for a peaceful serenity not found at home.
Like I said, it’s a small sample size. But it is interesting to reflect on how this particular home decorating trend manifests in this particular subset of “home” — home-away-from-home, where you can bliss out under the watchful gaze of a happy drunken Buddha.