Sunday, November 9, 2008
That's a Lotta Buddha
So, believe it or not, but there are Buddhist Temples all over Taiwan.
These temples range from small rooms, to huge centuries-old establishments.
I've been to a couple in the city, and a couple in LuKang - including one that was dedicated to the Emperor's Warriors, and one that has been standing for over 500 years! The intricacies in the architecture are breath taking.
There's a new temple being built. In fact, it wasn't quite 100% up-and-running when I happened in for a look. It's certainly an Ancient-meets-Modern-chic Temple. The outside is fairly indistinguishable, unlike the unmistakable appearance of its Ancestors.
But upon stepping inside, you're greeted by an elderly man in a lotus position towering over you, looking down from 30-40 feet above.
"Where do you get that," I wondered.
My question was answered on my way to Ikea last week (you really got to love Ikea), I passed what I could only describe as a Buddha-Surplus store. There were three, 30 foot Statues lined in a row, then a couple 15 footers. And around that? Smaller statues decorated the empty lot with all the tents, tables and fanfare to boot. It looked like a whole-sale warehouse that you could find off the 5-freeway along your way to La Mirada.
Though Taoism and even Christianity are prevelent over here on the Island, Buddhism seems to be the dominate practice.
I don't know much about this religion. I hope to know more.
Understanding someone's world view, especially their religion, will only help you understand them as a person more. Beyond that, I've found that understanding other people helps you to grow in a deeper knowledge of yourself and your worldview. It changes, shifts, and reaffirms the grounds you stand on.
From what I can tell, the Buddhist Culture puts a heavy emphasis on Ancestors and Ghosts. And when there's Ghosts, there's fear. In fact, there's a whole week called Ghost Week where the Taiwanese go to great lengths to keep themselves safe from angry spirits.
Fear is a powerful motivator. It changes peoples minds, shifts peoples perspectives and reaffirms their hesitations.
Effective, it may be. But I'm not conviced Fear is the wisest of persuasions.
Looking at this new culture has taught me to begin to evaluate my own.
What are the areas in my life that I operate out of Fear?
How can I change them to be more Affirming and Life-Giving?
How can I let Fear give way to Love?
That's my rant for this Blog. I'll leave you with a snap shots from the up-and-coming Temple.