Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lama Temple in Beijing

The Lama Temple in Beijing was, as one might imagine, an oasis of tranquility amidst a populous, frenetic cityscape.  A long walk bordered by big trees led up to several layers of extraordinary temples and buildings, serving as a "lamasery", which I assume is the Buddhist equivalent of a monastery.  As I passed from one building into the next, each successive structure was more impressive than the previous, and culminated in a building that housed a gilded Buddha that must have been 40 meters high.  Had I not intended to meet Chris back at the hotel at that time, I could easily have lingered another hour.  So, I walked out the main entrance to the busy street, clogged with taxis, buses, crowds, the sound of car horns,.....and in the background, a faint trace of Buddhist chanting music.  After 5 minutes or more, I was finally able to cross the street, and found a small Buddhist shop selling incense, prayer beads, temple supplies and CDs, one of which was creating the beautiful music.  I bought a copy, and as we were completing the transaction, a monk holding a bundle of incense sticks came into the shop.  He was chatting, laughing with the two young men running the place, and out of the corner of my eye, I swear, he was dancing a bit to the music.  My purchase was affirmed.

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