The Thais have a wonderful tradition that I only learned about on my recent visit to the islands. Along the edges of various beaches, I found tranquil shrines, often lined with the miniature statues of a single goddess, Phra Mae Thorani.
Local folklore says that Phra Mae Thorani was a young woman who wrung the cool waters of detachment from her hair. The water she wrought drowned Mara, a demon keen to tempt the Buddha, who was meditating under the bodhi teee.
Her pose is often said to be asking the world, indeed, calling for it to witness her triumph over evil. She is the earth goddess, the mother whose gestures saves those who seek help from her.
As someone who is not often moved by any religious iconography, I found that homages to Thorani’s presence were artistically rendered, with bougainvilleas framing labarnum and tamarind flowers, providing a serene source of comfort to those who moved through her space.
Apparently the pose of touching the earth with the lotus position that is often by the Buddha is a direct plea for Thorani’s intervention, of her presence in one’s life.