Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Temple Trek

Now that we are retired, it's time to explore Houston. Visiting various religious buildings in the area was always something we wanted to do. When a colleague and friend announced she was leaving the museum to go to Beijing to study Chinese, the three of us decided it was time to explore and start our temple trek. We started with the Jade Temple.

Kuan Yin who hears the cries of the world.
The bodhisattva of compassion.

Kuan Yin standing on the dragon and lotus base.

We arrived the morning after the full moon and found people honoring their ancestors with prayers and food offerings.

After the ceremony looking from the front door and incense burner toward the pond and the back of Kuan Yin.

This is the interior of the Jade Temple. Looks just like a "regular" church -- pews and all except a Buddha is on the altar.

Close up of Buddha and altar.

Vivian and moi. Art, iconography always on our mind!
Shakyamuni Buddha calling the earth to witness.

After the Jade Temple we took a dim sum break at the Ocean Palace. I've posted about the Palace previously. This is one of the beautiful lotus buds in the pond outside the Palace. Having Vivian with us really increased our enjoyment of the day. She told us stories about dim sum and tea drinking that we will always remember. She is young and this chance to study in Beijing doesn't come around every day. She will be missed. I'm hoping she will start a blog and share her adventures.

Teo Chew Temple

This is a temple that Vivian knew (Chinese and Vietnamese combination). She had attended a New Year celebration here (if I remember correctly) with one of her friends . We did not take pictures inside as we did not want to disturb the people at worship. This is a very traditional temple, one large open room, with Buddhas and bodhisattvas lining the interior walls. You could tell the more popular ones by how many offerings (flowers, food, fruit, candles with prayers or wishes printed on them) had been placed before them. Each had a single kneeler in front. We watched as a young woman prayed before Kuan Yin with her container of sticks, moving the round cylinder up and down until one stick fell to the ground. She took the stick to the fortune teller for reading. You'll recognize Kuan Yin again outside of the temple.

We would temple trek one more day with Vivian before we had to say goodbye and good luck.

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