Monday, November 15, 2010
A Visit to a Buddhist Temple
Have you ever been to a Buddhist temple?
I hadn't, until Saturday, but I'm so glad I went.
In sixth grade social studies class, the kids learn about world religions. Sam is planning a project in which he builds a miniature city complete with a Christian church, a Jewish temple, a mosque, and a Buddhist temple. Tall order, huh?
Sam has practically grown up inside a Christian church, but the other buildings? We're not so familiar with those. How can you build something if you don't really know what it looks like?
It was a perfect excuse to do some visiting.
The Place of Peace was first on our list.
It's a inter-generational temple once belonging to the Tsuzuki family in Nagoya, Japan. When the Tsuzukis donated it to Furman University, it was taken apart, piece by piece, and reassembled on the campus grounds.
I remember reading that during the temple's dedication, Seiji Tsuzuki spoke about his memories of sweeping the leaves around the temple when he was a boy.
Its craftsmanship is amazing.
The temple reminds me what I appreciate and so respect about the religion of Buddhism: the importance given to mindfulness, to paying attention to ones everyday life. That's such an important part of my Christian faith--to look for God's presence around me, to find God in the normal walk of life.
To find God in the details and in the big picture.
I love this simple fountain by the entrance.
It reminds me of the laver we've taught our Sunday school kids about, and how the Old Testament priests would wash themselves as a purifying ritual before going into the temple to worship.
See those shelve on the front porch of the temple? You take off your shoes before entering and place them there. The temple was locked so we couldn't go inside. Maybe another time.
No matter. There was plenty of God to go around just by walking across the campus.
See what I mean?
A perfect acorn, in the shade of a mighty oak. What a symbol of God's transforming power. His easy grace, dropping from the sky.
All living things seemed to pulse with God's presence that afternoon. I wanted to be like the roots of the tree, rising up, bursting out of the ground, to celebrate God's goodness.
Tanner got so excited that he baptized himself in the pond!
Careful! He'll spray you with stinky pond water!
As for me, I'll just focus on this burning bush.
Excuse me while I take off my shoes and worship.
Have a wonder-full Monday, y'all!
Love to you!