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.


4 comments:

Samantha said...

Look at you, mister bi-cultural. I will sleep better tonight knowing there are buddha-surplus stores somewhere in the world. :P

Renée said...

Interesting. I thought IKEA sold the same stuff in every store...but I guess they do vary a bit based on the country.

Lots of people in Holland are into Buddhism, be it a 'lighter' form. It's quite annoying to see the enemy lead so many people astray, but like you said...you gotta get to know what it's about to understand the people's motives and inner lives. From there you can really speak to their heart and help them to find truth.

Be blessed during the rest of your stay there!

Tootie said...

I am jealous! It looks amazing.

TuanInside said...

"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."

I really love this part of your article. It shows a very deep insight and tolerance of you. Buddhism is about forgiving your enemy and resisting the indulgence of want, rage and silliness. I learn pretty much of Buddhism, so just let me know if you want to know more.

Thus, you should find out about Taiwanese National Museum, these are original peak art works during the Qing dynasty of China. Chiang Kai Shek exiled to Taiwan and brought the whole of these. I want to see those things so bad. I'm sure taking those pictures will catch a lot of attention and response.