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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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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Buddha Tooth Relic Shrine


If you haven’t noticed I tend to visit quite a number of churches, temples and shrines on my travels. I love seeing how other cultures look at religion; how they react to their faith. I have a personal soft spot for Buddhism, for no particular reason, it just speaks to me in a different way than western religions. Something seems to draw me to the East, but alas my patience is poor which is no excuse. Today’s photo is where I entered the shrine. What I found inside was interesting and not unlike other Buddhist shrines. Except upstairs.

The Reliquary Room

On the upper floor of the shrine (you would miss the elevator if you weren’t looking) is a reliquary made of gold purported to contain a fragment of one of the Buddha’s canine teeth. It was rescued from his funeral pyre. I don’t know it the is true, but there is an eternal quality that surrounds the space. I sat for a long time and listened to the monk’s chants of blessings. People knelt, he blessed them. I didn’t ask for a blessing; I know not why. I pondered the place for a very long time sitting silently on a meditation cushion in full lotus. Perhaps if you are ever in the area … stop by, I would love to talk to someone else about their experience.

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An Offering at Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong

Man Mo Alter

I have never professed to know exactly what is going on in Buddhist Temples. There is praying of course and offerings, but exactly what transpires is a bit of a mystery. Just after taking this photo of some kind of offering on one of the alters a woman started yelling at me and shooing me away. I think she thought I was taking photos of the worshipers (which I was not out of respect), but still, this was the last think I photographed in the very small Hong Kong temple!

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Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho

Expectations are Useless

I often roll my eyes at people when they share their expectations of a place with me. Aren’t the people in Paris rude? No they aren’t if you respect their culture. Isn’t Argentina really poor? They have an host of economic problems as do we…they also have poor people and some that are quite wealthy. Despite my somewhat uppity attitude towards those untraveled…I myself constantly find my expectations blown out of the water. Bangkok was a surprisingly modern city…cue the roll of my eyes at myself.

Wat Pho

During my short (and extremely hot) time in Bangkok, I visited Wat Pho and the surrounding area. I had hands down the BEST Thai food I have ever had from a street vendor and I saw the largest reclining Buddha in the world. From the photo it almost looks like I am looking down on this shrine…I assure you, I was looking (way) up. As impressive as the Buddha was in shear size, I loved the detail work all around the temple almost as much.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 23 March, 2014
  • Focal length: 28mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1/200s

Jing’an Temple Shrine

Today’s Photo – A Personal Shrine

Jing’an Temple is a vast place full of monks, Buddhist practitioners (laypeople) and tourists alike and finding privacy must be next to impossible. One of the things that I found interesting is the large number of spaces for worship. I don’t profess to understand all the in’s and out’s of Buddhism, but this Jing’an Temple shrine seems to be made for an intimate bit of prayer. I arrived early in the day and was lucky to capture the temple with few visitors.

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Jing’an Temple Courtyard Shanghai China

Today’s Photo – Old Meets New

I have said it many times before, but I absolutely love contrasts. Ares of harmony that flow, even though they should fight each other. The Jing’an Temple Courtyard is one of these sorts of contrasts. You can see in this one view how the new Shanghai has erupted and almost taken over this nearly 2000 year old Buddhist Temple, but somehow it all works. It seemed to me this is one of the truths of modern day China and perhaps one of it’s great strengths.

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Ornate Door at Meiji Jingu


A quick post today…this door caught my eye when first entering Meiji Jingu. It’s a simple door, wonderfully carved but not the one you would go through. There is a much larger entry to the left, but I found this one…I don’t know why, but I was drawn to it’s smallness. I was drawn to it’s simplicity.

Evening Lanterns at Senso-ji Temple

A Mass of People

Senso-ji Temple is a wonderfully interesting place. You see the Tokyo Sky Tree off in the distance…the most modern of Tokyo. At the same time you are standing at a Temple site older than Tokyo itself. It is an odd reality, but one that fits Tokyo perfectly. There are always a large number of people at the site, even after it closes. I spent my time there eating the best bean buns I have ever had and taking photos up to try and keep the people out of my shots. I really enjoyed these lanterns.

Barrels of Sake

Sake In Strange Places

Honestly sake isn’t really my thing. I have had it numerous times before and perhaps I just haven’t found the right kind, but it seems very much like vodka to me…I am not sure why anyone would drink it straight. These barrels are at the Meiji Jingu shrine in Tokyo, Japan. Yes shrine…these are an offering to the deities of the shrine. It is a tradition that has gone on for generations.