What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is a religion that was started by the Buddha in Northern India. Later, as it became more popular, it spread to China and some other places in Asia. The Buddha was born into an aristocratic family. His family was very wealthy, and they shielded the buddha from the outside world while growing up. When he took a ride outside his palace, he saw the four sights, an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and a monk. After this he ran away and began his life as the buddha.
The trip to the temple related most to daoism. Going through the temple, it was mainly focused on letting go, by using meditation. I learned that monks pray for at least 3 hours everyday. It relates to both wu and wu-wei because they are not doing anything when meditating, they are putting themselves in an state of mind where they don't of anything.
Different Types of Buddhism
The other types of buddhism include Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Tibetan Buddhism. Korean and Japanese Buddhism is more about zen, practicing seeing who you are, teaching you how to look inside yourself. Chinese buddhism is more about practicing and acting everyday.
Symbols found in the temple
Lining the walls in the temple were many symbols and objects that relate to ancient china. For example, the walls of the temple were lined with little buddhas honoring those who have passed on. Also, on the ceilings were lotus flowers with ancestors names on them for those who could not afford a buddha. The lotus flower symbolizes the buddha and his teachings, and respect and power. The Buddha in the middle of the room had many symbols by the way it was resting. For example, he was touching his index and thumb which represents being present (Mudra). He was holding a ball in his hand which symbolizes all knowing and all good, which is a universal sign. Surrounding the Buddha, were dragons which were there to protect the Buddha. In ancient China and Korea the dragons were thought to protect the Buddha. In ancient China gold was considered valuable and expensive, and my the buddha and room being painted gold, it showed its significance.
Praying and chanting
At the temple, we got to experience praying and relaxing. later, we saw how the monks prayed. When praying, they used a bell and a stick to create a noise when they hit each other. As they went through praying, the monk would create a rhythm that they would pray to. These bell and stick were used to practicing the religion of Buddhism.
Adapting the religion
As the ancient religion turned into the modern religion, they had to make some changes to adapt to how the country runs today. Since monks don't work, they used to beg for food on the streets and count on the generosity of others. Now, monks still don't work but they can not beg for food anymore, so people make donations and bring food, so the monks will be able to eat.
Why should a future 8th grader visit this temple?
The experience at the temple was extraordinary, not was it just fun and entertaining, it gave a ton of information and helped me learn a lot more about the religion Buddhism. The temple makes you feel like you have travelled back into time, experiencing real life meditation. It gives you a look at how the buddha conducts his lifestyle, showing how he was trained, how he practices everyday, and how he conducts his lifestyle. The visit was very educational and a future 8th grader should definetly go to the temple because it teaches you a lot about Buddhism and ancient China.