Buddhist Temple Visit

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March 14th 2009
Published: March 14th 2009
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Because I was bored I visited a temple today. My orientation starts next week and I have nothing much to do between now and then. So I jumped on a bus and after about an hour and a half ended up at a temple whose name I already forgot.

It was similar to the temple I visited on my first trip to China. It was located on the top of a mountain and the area around it was beautifully maintained. It cost 20 yuan to ride a bus to the top of the mountain where the temple was. A few people were walking, but most took the bus.

It was very crowded. The traffic was backed up and there were people everywhere. Some were selling things, but most were pilgrims.

At the bottom of the mountain was a little village whose reason for existence seemed to be servicing the tourists going to the monastery. They sold food, joss sticks, cooking oil, incense, flowers, live birds and turtles to give the monks. There were restaurants, sellers of religious items, and fortune tellers.

I got on the bus and went up the mountain. It wasn’t a long distance, but traffic was very heavy so it probably took 20 minutes to go a mile or two. The scenery was good with views into the valley below and beyond.

At the top the bus was emptied and we were at the monastery. There was a large dorm like building to the right and a temple straight ahead. There were maybe 200 steps up to the temple. At the top everyone was given 3 joss sticks as they entered.

There were about 8 or 10 prayer stations where the people kneeled down and prayed holding their joss sticks to their foreheads. The air was thick with smoke. Some people walked around on their hands and knees, touching their foreheads to the ground every few steps. Most were not that fanatical.

At the main part of the temple the monks came out and accepted gifts. I have no idea what they could do with all the flowers, fruit and other food they were given. I saw lots of white birds flying around, so I assume they let them go. I don’t know what happened to the turtles.

There was a large bronze pagoda, about 20 feet tall, surrounded by a fence. People threw coins at the bells hanging from the pagoda. It took two workers full time to gather up the coins.

There was a 105 year old monk who lived there. When he came out everyone crowded around trying to get him touch their hands. The monk held up a mirror and as he passed everyone tried to see their own hands in his mirror. I guess that was as good as a touch.

You weren’t supposed to take pictures inside the monastery, but I saw several people taking pictures with cell phones outside the main temple, and a few cameras. I just got a few pics at the lower level.

At the end of the afternoon I walked through the village at the bottom of the mountain. I stopped at a little cafe. It only had 5 or 6 tables. The menu was in Chinese only, so I pointed to another patron and indicated I would have the same. I was brought a cup of broth with bits of meat and vegetables in the bottom, 6 small meat filled dim sum with a little peanut sauce. and a bowl of hand pulled noodles mixed with vegetables in sauce. Everything was good, though I am happy I did not know what kind of meat was in the broth. It looked like intestine, or stomach.

Refreshed, I caught the bus home.

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14th March 2009

.....i've never been that temple.in ShenZhen?.. or the countryside?i live in GuangZhou
19th March 2009

I do not speak Chinese, but as best I can tell it is the temple at the Fairy Lake Botanical Garden . I believe it is Liantang.

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