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Published: 29-11-2019

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An Interesting Field Trip To Teo Chew Temple

I’ve usually been conflicted on the classification of Buddhism. In several aspects, it’s a religion, but at the very same time the teachings really feel more like a philosophy than a pious faith. The straightforward honesty of Buddhism is refreshing the straightforwardness of the 4 Noble Truths are raw and sensible, unlike the lofty claims of other religions, many of which are inconsistent and unconvincing, but of course that all comes down to opinions. Although reading about Buddhism has been fascinating, seeing it being practiced in individual is eye opening, as the variations from the text to the true world make it a journey worth experiencing.

I recently went to see Houston’s Teo Chew Temple, a Vietnamese temple with Cambodian-Chinese influences, which my grandmother visits weekly. It is. Accompanying her this time, she helped explain the several functions of the place. The first point a visitor notices is the architecture of the buildings: bright shades of red, white, and gold adorn each and every pillar, sign, and roof, complete with ornate statues and carvings. Initially, the intricacy tends to make me curious, for my previous understanding of Buddhism led me to think that one aspect of the philosophy was minimalism. Siddhartha expressed how he went from his riches to a far a lot more down to earth life-style, devoid of lavish enjoyments (Trainor 28). I would like to know why everything is so nicely decorated in Buddhism. Nevertheless, this was just the 1st of the variations I observed of Buddhism, but of course almost everything is up to an individual’s interpretation.

Upon getting into the biggest chamber of the temple, a visitor will see that the patterns from the exterior continue into the interior. The sights are rich in colour and detail. Furthermore, the smell of incense greets us. There are many shrines in the large area, and my grandmother tells me that each and every a single is devoted to a distinct deity, fitted with large statues, and each a single representing a different virtue, such as wealth and love, amongst others. For this trip, she brought oranges to place as an supplying at the fortune shrine, probably simply because she was preparing to buy lottery tickets this week. She describes to me how the offerings that folks leave can also be taken by other people who want it, which intrigued me greatly. This is a excellent demonstration of selfless generosity, and no doubt this aids the less privileged men and women come to this establishment. A small research right after the trip revealed that the Teo Chew Temple belonged to Mahayama Buddhism (Titthara, 2003). One element I am still curious about is the plethora of gods that have been there, for I’ve always felt that Buddhism was very human, which means it was much more about understanding oneself rather than larger beings acquiring involved in an individual’s path towards enlightenment. Is this part of Buddhism in common or just the Mahayama sect of Buddhism? In addition, in spite of the quantity of visitors and monks present that day and the size of the room, it was considerably silent the tranquility most likely helps develop a quiet space and a sanctuary for meditation, and I cherished the calm atmosphere.

Along with the primary space, there were also side paths and rooms, the designs reminiscent of its Chinese roots. One particular other essential structure housed the remains and memories of numerous ancestors. Whilst I did not in fact enter that room, it was apparently filled with photographs and tributes to lost loved ones,[1] which I’ve learned is a large element of Buddhism (Peggy, 2017). It wasn’t some thing I thought of prior to, but with the notion of reincarnation, how are ancestors so critical? It’s a hard question, but I wonder how they are prominently featured when they have a possibility of being reborn. What happens to them in relation to previous life, or in other words, the folks they leave behind? I would think being reborn practically severs the connection completely. Possibly it is a cultural idea. On that cultural note, my grandmother told me how she could ask for blessings and great luck charms from the monks there. Products include red envelopes that a individual is supposed to place underneath their pillow to ward off evil, as properly as tiny posters with deities printed on them that are hung up around a house to bring in great luck. Just by the red envelopes alone, I believe this temple is influenced by the Chinese background, and each small nuance of Buddhism makes my understanding procedure that significantly more captivating.

By the time that I left Teo Chew Temple, I was much more curious than when I entered. The discrepancies amongst the written sources on Buddhism and the temple itself fueled my interest to far better recognize the philosophical religion, or religious philosophy. No matter whether the differences are based on sects or culture, there is definitely a lot more to discover on this topic. As I continue to acquire more knowledge on the topic, I am positive my appreciation for Buddhism will only grow alongside it.
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