Last month I had the desire of visiting Miao La Temple a Buddhist temple in Portland Oregon. This Temple appreciates visitors with open hands. It was my first time to visit a Buddhist Temple, and I realized there are no complicated rituals that happen. My primary purpose for setting this journey to the Temple was to experience a meditation session, learn about Buddhism religion beliefs and also have a conversation one of the Buddhist practitioners. When I got to the Buddhist Temple, I was very anxious about the statues and pictures which were in there. I felt insecure and full of doubts. However, one of the practitioners guided me to try to create space of acceptance and self-love. Therefore, as I went through my meditation session, I was humored into happy memories, thinking about things that bring the delight of love and joy into my life. This journey was the best experience of my life, and it ended with a happy heart. However, in this essay, I will write the conversation I had with the Buddhist practitioner, explain the Buddhism religious beliefs and practices and also reflect my knowledge about Buddhist Temple comparing to other religious beliefs.
During my visit to the Miao Fa Temple, I met Chan who was a Buddhist practitioner also known as Dharma practitioner. Chan guided me through the Temple. I had an opportunity to interview him after going through my meditation session. Chan had been a Buddhism follower for 15 years, and he had a great experience with the religious and cultural practices of the Buddhist. Earlier, Chan was a pagan. He did not know which religion to follow. Once in a while, he had desired to go to the Buddhist Temple. Therefore as time passed, Chan made up his mind and took his first step of becoming a Buddhist. Unlike Christianity, there are no rituals performed for one to become a Buddhist. Chan explained to me the critical element to Buddhist preparation is a regular affirmation of refuge. This oath is taken through three Jewels; Buddha (the teacher), Dharma (the truth) and the Sangha (religious community). He also talked about the significant features of Buddhism. Buddhism is featured as the prominent way to enlightenment and Buddha refers to an enlightened individual. Therefore, Buddhism is the way to liberation and enlightenment from the Samsara world.
Many people have been questioning Buddhism whether it is a religion or philosophy. Chan, however, explained about Buddhism as a religion. He talked about Buddhism as a religious conviction that does not have their particular God. Nonetheless, they include religion functions like doctrines, rituals, spiritual practices, symbols and also social relationships regardless of how people take Buddhism as a philosophy of life.
A Buddhist temple is a worshiping place for Buddhists. However, the temple contains different structures that symbolize the Buddhism religion and cultures. The temple symbolizes five separate elements. These elements are; fire, water air, the pinnacle at the top of the temple that symbolizes wisdom and also the squire base that symbolizes earth (Wood, 2000). In the temple, there was also an Eight-Spoked Wheel that symbolizes Buddha. Buddhists believe that Buddha did not accept his images because he did not want to be treated with deference. The Eight-Spoked Wheel also known as Dharmachakra' symbolizes Buddha when developing the wheel of law. The left and right part of the wheel brings up the story right after Buddha attained enlightenment. It also has eight spokes that signify the Eight-fold Noble Path. Three Swirling elements in the center symbolizes Buddha, the teachings (Dharma) and also the spiritual community (Sangha). This wheel as well can be separated into three segments that signify an element of Buddhist practices; the spokes (Wisdom), the hub (discipline) and also the rim (concentration) (Kenneally, 2005).
In the Miao Fa Temple, the heart of Buddhism is created by three pillars merely describing the history of Buddha. These components are represented by three jewels that include offerings. The Buddhist offerings are considered as a good teaching against attachment and greed. The offerings contain flowers, light, and incense, water to wash the feet, water to cleanse the face, food, perfume and musical instruments. This offering teaches the Buddhist of how a visitor should be welcomed. In this temple, there was also a Lotus which is a significant symbol of the Buddhism. Lotus represents a comprehensive body, mind and speech purification. It also symbolizes the prospering of wholesome deeds of liberation. Buddhist believe that Lotus develops from mud (Samsara), appears through muddy water to a clean area (purification) and lastly generates a lovely flower (enlightenment) (Anton, 2006). Additionally, Buddhism focuses on correct accepting of human nature and also ultimate reality. The Buddhist believe that Buddha was referred to as the Enlightened One' who taught them that the precise way to do away with suffering was by understanding the right nature of the universe. Nonetheless, Buddhism does not agree with the belief of the existence of eternal and immortal souls. They, however, believe that no permanent soul permanently exists just the existing of karmic perception of emotional beings that continually flows like a river (Reynolds, 2000). They do not mind about life after death, but how one is living and how their mind develops.
Reflection. Buddhism is a religion that with the belief that Buddhist feel that It helps them eliminate, find peace and also maintain neutrality in the world of suffering and injustice. However, according to the experience in Miao Fa Temple, Buddhist and Christianity are incompatible. There are apparent differences between the Buddhism teachings and beliefs compared to those in Christianity. Although the Buddhism believe in the paths in truth, most of their teachings are entirely opposed to the Christian biblical teachings. Worshipping supernatural being Buddha and also emphasizing on perfection seems unreligious Moreover, happiness and suffering in Buddhism are created by individuals together with their karmic force, not by God. Learning about Buddhism religion was challenging because their doctrine is not found in Christianity.
What Buddhism is genuinely about is coming back to this life, with another state of mind. By being quieter, more mindful, a more pleasant individual ethically, somebody who has surrendered envy and insatiability and scorn, someone who comprehends that nothing is everlasting, that despondency is the value we enthusiastically pay for love, this life becomes tolerable. We quit tormenting ourselves and enable ourselves to appreciate what there is to enjoy
Buddhism is a religion that contains various beliefs, cultures and spiritual practices. Following principles help Buddhists have good morals. However, the essential center of profound practice in Buddhism regardless of school either modern or traditional creates morals (sila), wisdom (prajna) and meditation (Samadhi). To start with, practicing morals or good trains is to avert and maintain a strategic distance from unwholesome deeds and also develop human dignity, mainly to control the capacity of committing evil acts.
Anton, T. (2006). Becoming the Lotus: How to achieve the full lotus posture. Place of publication not identified: Merkur Publishing, Inc.
Kenneally, C., & Rooke, S. (2005). Buddhism. Eagle Mile Plains, Qld. Marcom Projects [distributor.
Lewis, T. (2014). Buddhists: Understanding Buddhism through the Lives of Practitioners. Hoboken: Wiley.
Reynolds, F., & Carbine, J. A. (2000). The life of Buddhism. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Wood, A. (2000). Buddhist temple. Milwaukee, WI: Gareth Stevens Pub.
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