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!


lotusgirl said...

Some beautiful shots. I love the beauty and craftsmanship of the buildings and the leaves. Wow. Nature creates its own temple.

Anonymous said...

How neat that I came to your page today. It certainly brought back memories of the years we lived in Korea and visting other Asian nations while there! They are beautiful structures to visit.
Tammy Whitley

Laura said...

what a beautiful memory you created on this sweet day! Such glory. Gorgeous.

Sarah @From Tolstoy to Tinkerbell said...

I love the colors of fall! I always feel like God reserves the best color palette for this season--deep reds, vibrant oranges, intense yellows. I have been to many churches and even a Jewish synagogue; I have never stepped into a Buddhist temple. Sometimes, I even the tranquility that exudes from those places. Lovely post.

LW said...

You still have such beautiful color left in your trees. Ours now stand naked, readying for the next season to come.

The most wonderful love
story that I have ever been told was about a young Buddhist girl and a US Air Force captain at the end of the Vietnam War. It didn’t have a happy ending like those in our fairytales but an ending of understanding and respect for each other’s life.


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm a huge fan of the PEACE and SERENITY and STILLNESS the Buddhist temples elicit. I could totally worship God in that setting, with no distractions like I've experienced in other places of worship.

Attic Rat said...

Lovely post. It's a little harder to see God's beauty here in South Texas, but if you look hard you can find it everyday.


Mompriest said...

although I have integrated some Buddhist meditation practice and thought into my Christian faith, I have never been to Buddhist temple. lovely.

Sue said...

This post reminded me how close you are to a lot of my family (they live in Taylors). That architecture is an every day sight for me where I live now, but I sure didn't know that was on the Furman campus! Your photos are beautiful!!

Amy Sullivan said...

I've always wondered what a Buddhist temple looked like. Thanks for sharing the pictures and thanks for sharing about your day.

Laura said...

Lovely, lovely, Becky. You and I see God in the same things. I'm reading Sacred Pathways now - on your recommendation.

Beautiful photos, too.
Happy Fall, friend.

Daricia said...

beautiful photos, becky. especially love those nature shots. can you believe the color we've had in the carolinas this year? truly amazing!

sarah said...

these photos are beautiful..and all that work that went into building the temple.....