Thai Buddhist Temple Offering Pots

Offerings and Meditation

These pots lined the exit of the Reclining Buddha. What struck me was their dual purpose. First they solicit donations for the temple. As you pass each one a small denomination coin is dropped in as an offering. Second, they are yet another form of meditation…a walking meditation, rhythmic…full of thoughts of charity.

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Spiral Incense in Hong Kong

Which Buddhist Temple?

I have visited quite a number of temples, shrines, churches and other holy places around the globe. This is amazing as I get to see how people from different places and walks of life experience religion. The problem is sometimes these sites can run together! Some places like La Sagrada Familia are unmistakable, but this shot…might be a few places! I think, given the prominent spiral incense, its Man Mo Temple, but honestly I am only about 75% sure!

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Buddhist Wall in China

Haunting Sculptures

There are so many great artistic works created in the name of religion. I don’t know the significance of this sculpture, but it is almost as maddening a work as La Sagrada Familia‘s Nativity Facade. There are so many carvings within carvings and around carvings it’s hard to know what is happening.

I took a HUGE bit of creative license as the room was dimly lit in places. There colors are all mine, but the madness is all Buddhist artists!

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Red Japanese Maple Leaves Over a Zen Garden

Zen Rock Gardens

In my short time in Kyoto, I saw SO many gardens. You literally run into them everywhere. I am one who has no patience for gardening, but I love the artistry OF gardening. This latest trip to Japan gave me a appreciation for imperfection. You can make something perfect, but in some things, say a handcrafted tea cup…the Japanese prize the imperfect. These leave are as I found them…imperfect. The pebbles in the karesansui are not uniform in color. My control of depth of field in the photograph was not how I saw it.

These imperfections are, but an illusion for all are perfection.

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Buddha Statue in Kyoto, Japan

Temples and Shrines, and Buddha’s OH MY!

Everywhere you go in Kyoto, there are shrines, temples and gardens. I can’t think of a place I went that didn’t have at least one or more of the three…sometimes all three at the same time! It is said Kyoto has over 2000 shrines and temples from small to exquisitely grand (in a zen way of course). Just walking down the sidewalk, I found this little temple. I said Buddha in my title, but perhaps a Bodhisattva or some other early divine person. With so many places to pray, it is sometimes hard for a western walker to know where they stand, but I think that is perfectly Japanese.

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Neat Rows of Buddhist Monk Slippers, Kyoto, Japan

Taking Off Your Shoes in Japan

The Japanese are a trusting lot! Before entering a Buddhist temple, you remove your shoes. Sometimes you carry them around in a little plastic bag, but generally you just leave them on a shoe rack by the entrance. The same is often expected if you are carrying an umbrella…best to not track water all over a temple or store. Of course, my shoes (not that anyone would want my traveling shoes) and my umbrella were always exactly where I left them. Not only are the Japanese trusting, they are also trustworthy!

I just loved these neat rows of slippers the monks wear. They were lined up outside what is functioning currently as the primary temple at Chion-in.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/3.2
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 13 November, 2015
  • Focal length: 31mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Location: 35° 0.3708′ 0″ N 135° 46.99′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s
  • Title: Neat Rows of Buddhist Monk Slippers, Kyoto, Japan

Fall at Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto, Japan

Finding Fall Color

Hitting fall color in Japan to me seems a bit like hitting the cherry blossoms. You can shoot for the perfect time, but nature sometimes has other ideas. Technically I was a bit early for the “perfect” fall color time, but the maples were just starting to turn! This is Kiyomizu-dera, a buddhist temple with a FANTASTIC view of downtown Kyoto. I actually came back on my last night in Kyoto, but realized when I arrived I didn’t have the entrance fee (I left my wallet back at the hotel). I had followed a big searchlight in the sky that brought me right back to this lovely spot.

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Chinese Dog Carving at Lingyin Temple

My Love of Random Sculptures

A quick photo today from my favorite part of Hangzhou…Lingyin temple. It’s probably an obvious photo for me to take at this point, but I just love the little details around Chinese gardens, monasteries and the like. The craftsmanship at the Lingyin area is exquisite and this little dog is no exception.

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Small Gold Leaf Covered Buddha in Thailand

Beautiful Offerings

Thailand is one of those places that tops my “The Most Foreign Places I Have Visited” list. I keep saying I think I need to give the country another chance. The more I travel the more I realize my travel style and comfort level tends to lend itself to more to the West. I particularly enjoy the history of Europe, not to mention its climate! Despite this, I firmly believe in testing my own boundaries and comforts. There is a beauty in Thailand unlike any other place on Earth. There is much to be learned here as well, both about the place and, I think, myself.

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Rows of Golden Buddhas

Further Feelings

I said the other day I wanted to bring photos to the blog that evoke the feeling of a place, rather than its plain reality. Wat Pho temple is another world…Thailand itself is another world. The heat and humidity are unlike other hot places I have visited. The weather adds a weight that I found extremely difficult to bear. Everything seems a bit more difficult moving in the powerful sun when its 90% humidity and over 90 degrees! Today’s photo is part of a hall of a large courtyard surrounded by these golden Buddha statues. It is quite interesting standing in the heat, complaining, while the enlightened ones sit calmly, cool as can be.

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