A visit to a Buddhist temple for a service is a chance for a new experience and to expand personal cultural horizons. I approached with an open mind on learning and experiencing what exactly the service had to offer. The service started at 9:30 and was very quiet. People just came in and knelt on the floor or sat in benched towards the back of the room. The front of the room was open and most people just went up and sat or knelt on the floor. There were some alters to a few gods. There were flowers, candles and incense burning at the front of the room. The service opened up with one and half hours of meditation.
A time for reflection and prayer. At about 11:00 one of the monks went to the front and knelt facing the congregation. People sat up and faced him. The monk gave a long talk on the feelings of others and how we all should be considerate of those feelings. He spoke on the source of strength as the time one spends in meditation. He spoke for nearly an hour. (Brooke). Then several monks began chanting and coming from the back of the temple and marched to the front – others from the congregation began to join them. They were carrying various flowers, vegetables and incense burners.
Some were also carrying incense which was not burning yet. hey replaced the older flowers with fresh and put food around the alter. They also put out more incense. When finished people began leaving. That was the entire service lasted about three hours. The people are very reflective on how they impact those around them. It was nice to see how other cultures worship. I was glad to take part and visit this new world. Bibliography Brooke, Cynthia. “Heartland Sangha: American Buddhism. ” Heartland Sangha: What is they do? 1. 108 Aug 2001 1. 19 Feb 2009 <http://www. heartlandsangha. org/>.
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Unformatted text preview: Honors Theology Visit a Synagogue-‐Temple-‐Church March 22, 2015 Buddhist Temple Reflection Born and raised a Christian, I never really had a firm understanding of many other religions. I have attended Catholic schools my entire life and never branched out to learn about other faiths. However, Buddhism has always been a religion I considered interesting, but never knew much about. After visiting a Buddhist temple, I felt that my experience there was very eye opening, and gave me a whole new understanding and appreciation for Buddhist practices and beliefs. When I entered the temple I was asked to remove my shoes, and was immediately shocked by how different it looked than I had expected. I had expected to enter an elaborate building with marble floors and candles everywhere, where in fact I had entered the small basement of a simple man’s home. The smell of incense was slightly overwhelming at first, and decorative tapestries and Buddha figurines that were placed through out the small room, making it seem cramped but homey. Having been accustomed to mass in a church, this setting was all very new to me. As you may know, Catholic Churches are adorned with elaborate stain glass windows, ornate figurines and large structural features – this temple was much different. Next I was led to the worship room in which small prayer desks and cushions for people to sit on were placed. The man leading the ceremony turned on a worship guide CD, and the people around me started chanting along with the tape while reading prayer books. I found it hard to keep up with the chants at first because most of the people surrounding me had memorized them, and because they were half in a Tibetan language and half in English. As I got more comfortable, I found that the chants were actually rather relaxing and I felt more at ease. It was interesting that some people were holding prayer beads, much like a rosary, that they would slide between their fingers for each chant they completed. I really liked how laid back and low maintenance the ceremony was and how each person could participate in chanting as much as he wanted, or could just sit peacefully with his eyes closed, silently chanting to himself. This, again, was much different than the Catholic ceremonies I was used too. Something I found particularly interesting about the worship ceremony was the Buddhist belief of stressing the importance of self-‐reflection and enlightening the mind, the mouth, and the heart. I had always found it sort of odd when I would see people meditating and chanting “ohm” over and over again, but through out the service I came to realize how relaxing it was and I noticed that my mind felt much clearer, and the things that I had been stressing and worrying about when I had arrived seemed less burdensome than before. All of the chants were centered around the idea that if we seek to do good and be pure in mind, body and spirit we will be truly happy and find it easier to focus on positives and not negatives in our lives. I found the whole idea of enlightenment, rather than the idea of heaven and hell and being judged for our sins, refreshing and interesting. Above all else, I think I was mostly struck by how friendly and open all the people in attendance were. They were a very diverse group of people, both ethnically and economically, yet all treated one another equally and like a family. It was clear to them that this was my first experience in the Buddhist world and that I was uneasy about it, but all of them were very friendly and willing to answer the many questions I had. I left the worship ceremony feeling very content as well as very intrigued by my new knowledge of Buddhism and by the hospitality shown to me that day. ...
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