Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Visit to a Buddhist Temple

While we were in Shanghai we visited a Buddhist temple. The temple is right in the middle of town, surrounded by modern architecture. IMG_1122 As I mentioned in my previous post on China, Shanghai is the business center of China and Beijing is the historical center of China which is reflected in the architecture of these cities. While the historical sites are in Beijing, Shanghai is full of modern skyscrapers which makes the temple really stand out. Unlike western countries where churches are seen very often, places of worship are quite rarely seen in China. Of all of the places in China that I have been, I have only seen two Christian churches and a handful of Buddhist temples. Everyone paid admission to enter, even worshippers. (I wonder how many people would pay to come to my church.)IMG_1152The architecture was absolutely beautiful. IMG_1126    I have no idea what these tall poles mean but they were very interesting.  Unfortunately, most of the signage and the brochures were written in Chinese so we could not read them.IMG_1127 Most of the worshippers buy three long (about 24”) sticks of incense and light them in this cauldron, then hold the sticks to their forehead and bow facing the temple.  The two ladies in suits in the lower left corner of the photo below are doing this. (I guess the cars inside belong to the monks since they were the only ones allowed to drive inside.)IMG_1128       Apparently it is good luck to throw a coin in this thing. We saw several people tossing coins like those below.      IMG_1171               All of the wood is teak and the white balustrade appears to be marble.    IMG_1129        The craftsmanship was stunning. The shot below is looking up at the ceiling. IMG_1139        Here’s a closer shot. It’s almost like puzzle pieces.IMG_1149

I loved the beautiful doors.IMG_1144 As you can see below looking in from the outside, this is the big silver Buddha. It is about 28 feet tall and is made of 15 tons of silver. (That sign was in English!) IMG_1131  We could not get a shot of the whole thing from inside. Here you can see how massive it is.IMG_1133   You can see in this photo that there is another Buddha to the side. There was also another one on the other side.   IMG_1141   My heart breaks for these elderly Chinese people. I so wanted to tell them about my God.  IMG_1136 The room under the big Buddha has these Buddhas. There were 18 of them. Worshippers came in and prayed and bowed in front of each one.   IMG_1158The shot below is very fuzzy since we were clicking quickly while trying not to disrupt worshippers but I wanted to show that each one has different positions of their hands and some are even holding various objects.  IMG_1162       Other rooms had other Buddhas. This one must be the happy one! IMG_1163     This one seems to be female. We really needed an interpreter here! IMG_1167   This one appears to be female too. I guess she’s the smart one! (Just kidding, no disrespect intended.)We also wondered what those banners on the walls were about. IMG_1174This is a photo of one of the monks.  IMG_1172For just a fleeting moment I thought about a career change. I think I could adapt to wearing something akin to my robe and slippers all day sitting around reading. I wouldn’t have many bad hair days. It was just a fleeting thought.



1 comment:

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Now, more than ever I want to go to China. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos.