I love the feeling of familiarity when I’m on the grounds of a Buddhist temple because the smells of the burning incense and the sound of the chanting accompanied by gentle drumming of the mok-tak (wooden drum) always takes me back to my childhood in South Korea. I love the feeling of calm and serenity that washes over me when when i’m on the grounds of the temple, I love all the hand painted walls, the hand carved statues and the monks who don’t make eye contact with you because they are too busy thinking about meditating and enlightenment and stuff (no sarcasm!).
I believe in Buddhism as a philosophy and a way of life more so than a religion. Spirituality is such a personal experience and I believe that the Buddhist philosophy can be applied to one’s life no matter what your religious background may be. We all strive for inner peace and outward compassion no matter who we pray to for the guidance to achieve this goal. Don’t shy away from temples, but instead take advantage of their existence and forget about the modern day troubles and be at peace in nature for a day (respectfully, of course… I try not to take too many pictures on the temple grounds, and almost never in the prayer rooms, because often times, there are devotees praying and meditating, so I try not to disturb others with my camera. I should also note that Buddhist temples serve several purposes and you can learn more about that here ).
I have so much respect for people who give up all that the modern day has to offer and devote their lives to spirituality. I was introduced to Korean Buddhism at an early age but I still struggle to remember to practice the lessons every day. Being in a temple reminds me of the more important things in life.
Put away all hindrances, let your mind full of love pervade one quarter of the world, and so too the second quarter, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around and everywhere, altogether continue to pervade with love-filled thought, abounding, sublime, beyond measure, free from hatred and ill-will.
– adapted from the DIG HANI KAYA, translated by Maurice Walshe
Om mani padme hum and have a great day!