In general, it is okay to give Buddha statues as gifts to non-Buddhists & even to yourself. More than a pure religion, Buddhism in essence can be regarded as a non-theistic philosophy. It is, therefore, welcoming to followers and non-followers alike.
The only thing you would need to make sure is that doing so will not create any conflicts on the receiving end of your friends, colleagues, or relatives. It would be nice to share some of your understanding so they can appreciate and understand the meaning of your gifts much better.
With that said, how about we check out the meaning of Buddha statues next:
The Meaning of Buddha Statues
In Buddhism, Buddhists are not required visit pagodas, temples, or monasteries on a regular basis. Followers can do so on holidays or when they need some escape or retreat from their busy lives. This is why many people have Buddha statues at home in their meditation rooms, altars, or out in their backyards.
Having a physical statue adds strong emphasis for followers and non-followers alike in their beliefs of the Buddha’s teachings. These teachings can help them overcome themselves—their own thoughts during tough times—and bring back clarity to their minds.
Many people choose to do meditation before the Buddha statue. They kneel or sit and begin to recite mantra or sutra (statement of belief in a short form).
One good poem is:
Breathing in, calming
Breathing out, smiling
The present moment
The wonderful moment
Some people visit their own “temple” or sanctuary at home to let their thoughts, concerns, fears, or difficulties out. It is the time and place where they have a conversation with themselves. The time to let all the things that are holding you back out of the basement.
With the physical presence of a Buddha statue, the abstract idea becomes somewhat easier for people to comprehend. For kids, especially, we can teach them the guiding principles from early on and instill in them the good qualities to help their growing up journey.
When having guests over to our house, we can invite them for a walk out in our yard or garden with the Buddha statue or visit our room. From there, many good conversations about the nature of things, the meaning of life, and freedom can spark naturally.
Visually, it would create more impact having a statue to represent the many aspects of Buddhism.
Have you heard about the big belly laughing Buddha statues?
The Laughing Buddha for Religious Non-Buddhists
|Wood big belly statue|
If you like to offer your friends or relatives a Buddha statue as gift but they may be quite religious, you can consider giving them a Budai statue.
Budai, Hotei, or Putai is often known as the Laughing Buddha. Because of this name, Budai is often mistaken as the Buddha. On the contrary, Budai is a monk with a jolly nature and humorous personality. By nature, he is not a Buddha, but again, he is a monk.
Therefore, you can safely give the statues to your friends—just like a statue of David or any great artists—without worrying about potential conflicts. Your friend may get curious and ask something like, “If the monk follows the Buddha’s teaching and has great self control, why is he so, well, darn fat?”
You can answer them like this:
Good question. His fat belly is a representation of the generous nature, his kindness, and humorous personality towards everyone—from young to old and from Buddhists to non-Buddhists. While he does sometimes drink, he's an icon for a carefree lifestyle doing good things for people.
Budai is the only statue that is shown with a happy, smiling face. This is to represent his eccentric, carefree lifestyle, and positivity. When people say living the life of a monk, many have this image of strict, disciplined people leading seemingly dull lives. It is not necessarily the case.
When you find your happiness within, it will show on your appearance without. You can still meditate, eat vegan food, follow the Buddha’s teachings, and lead meaningful and interesting lives. Budai, nicknamed the Laughing Buddha or the big belly Buddha, is a great example of this idea.
Many people can’t help but feel uplifted when looking at such a happy and content figure. If you like this statue, there's some more options here.
But wait, take a look at these adorable ones too:
Baby Buddha Statues for Little Ones
|Monk on elephant statue|
Cute Buddha or baby monk statues are the “mini version” figurines of our beloved Buddha. Because of their carefree, innocent, and adorable appearance, no one can really resist these little gifts.
This is why they make great gifts for your friends, religious or not, and even their young ones. These statues are usually quite small. They come in a package a little bit bigger than an average lunchbox.
Your friends can put the figurines on their office desk, on the kitchen table, around some tea sets or in the bedroom or outside the yard on some pebbles. These come in a variety of colors and finish. There are even the twin or triplet baby Buddha statue packs that look absolutely adorable.
With the presence of these cute little figures, your dear ones’ house will have an added touch of serenity and peacefulness.
Out of curiosity:
Is a Buddha Statue Good Luck?
Buddha statues on their own cannot change your course of action or destiny. Your destiny is within the palm of your own hands.
The teachings or insights that you get from the Buddha may shed light on some problems that you are currently stuck at.
It is that coupled with your own determination and action that could bring you better luck. It is of the nature of probabilities after all.
So, increase your chances, even a tiny 1% may bring about remarkable results. Here are several practical, applicable ideas for good luck or chances that might work out well for you.
What Else Should I Give Them Besides the Buddha Statue?
If you are planning to send them a really big Buddha statue to place in their backyard, you would very well need a pedestal. If the statues are smaller, they could be placed easily inside the house.
If your friend is interested in meditation, consider getting them a bell or a mat. The purpose of a bell during meditation practice is to help our “monkey mind” not wander aimlessly and focus on the present moment.
Giving them books on Buddhism may also be nice of you. Because your friend is a non-Buddhist, don’t choose any books that are too heavy on the subject. It may be off-putting for them.
Light, peaceful reads would be the best choice. Most important of all, consider giving them your time. With time, you can practice compassionate listening. With compassionate listening, you can truly understand your dear one better.
If you can do that, your gift is complete.
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