Sunday, August 31, 2008

Buddha in the West

I went on a journey to #1 Canal Street a few weeks ago to visit the Mahayana Buddhist Temple. The purpose of my visit was to have some quiet time on my own and de-clutter my mind.

Mayahana Buddhist Temple (right side) on #1 Canal Street, Chinatown, New York City

But what is one to expect of a temple that is located smack in the middle of a busy city like New York? I found my way around the main hall as quietly as I could, making sure that I didn't knock over any statues or pots (I wouldn't be surprised if I did--clumsy old me). I realized later on that my cautiousness was unnecessary because all the people around me were making a lot of noise. Hmmm. By a lot of noise I guess I mean more noise than I thought people should be making inside places of worship?

Shrugging off the possibility of having some quiet time, I felt relieved that I brought along a camera. In the center of the main hall was a 16-foot high golden Buddha with neon blue halos. All around the hall were illustrations of Gautama Buddha's journey towards Enlightenment.

I suppose it's honest to say that I initially felt disappointed since I don't exactly agree with this commercialized/Westernized version of the Buddha or its very AZ (Anti-Zen. It's a word I invented--learn it) location. But later on I realized that it was alright, as I believe that true peace should emanate from within and not be dependent on one's surroundings. Walking around the hall following Gautama Buddha's life rekindled a simple thought inside my head: There is no cause for despair. Everything is good!

Buddha rocks.

“Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.” - Author unknown

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