Living in a multi-cultural city yields all sorts of surprises. On a corner in Oakland just east of Lake Merritt, a small Buddha has helped bring neighbors together.
I didn’t know what to think the first time I saw the makeshift Vietnamese shrine. At the time, a few potted plants and flowers brightened up the corner. A piece of scrap metal protected the statue’s head. I had just moved to the neighborhood.
“Did someone die?” I asked a few women congregating in front of it. They shook their heads. One pointed to the sky and said, “Buddha. Pray.”