Ganesh is the elephant that is often found in Buddhist temple amulets in Thailand and India. Ganesh is probably the ultimate - and most revered and respected Hindu god of all of them.
Genesh represents the oldest son of Lord Shiva the destroyer. Ganesh's mother is Parvati - the god of wisdom and learning and the one that removes obstacles from the paths of seekers of the truth. Before doing anything important a prayer is offered to Ganesh to ensure success.
The Ganesh figure is roundish with an elephant head, 4 human arms and a tusk that has been broken. Usually Ganesh is seated and has one of his legs folded underneath. In three hands Ganesh holds some tools that are instrumental in enlightenment: Rope, axe, bowl of rice.
The braids in the rope symbolize:
2. Illusory Nature of the World
3. Ignorance. The axe is representative of a follower needing to cut the attachments to the world in order to further mind along the path to enlightenment. The rice bowl is said to be the quenching or reward one receives as living within the enlightened state full of wisdom, truth, and intrinsic happiness. In Ganesh's last hand is nothing... the hand appears to be giving a blessing.
The way Ganesh came about is said to be thus... Parvati, his mother (or, creator) was said to be bathing and needed someone to stand guard against anyone that may enter. She created a boy for the task. When Shiva returned to where Parvati was bathing he was angry with the boy for blocking his entrance and chopped off his head with his sword. Parvati was horrified. Shiva tried to make amends and promised to put the head of a beast on instead - and found an elephant head. Parvati was still not all that happy and Shiva declared that before anyone did ANYTHING they should ask for Ganesh's blessing on the undertaking. :)
Quite a story!