Temple Building

Temple BuildingI’ve lost track, but I think overall there must be at least 15
buildings, ranging from ornate and elegant buildings like this one, to
small gazebos set beside reflecting pools or walking paths. Inside
some of them are large statues of Buddhas and Boddhisatvas; inside one
of them are literally hundreds of different versions of (I think)
Buddha. For those who don’t know and are interested: there’s only one
Buddha, but he’s portrayed in many ways in the Chinese approach to
Buddhism. I think. There are several Boddhisatvas, people have
attained enlightenment but then, rather than passing into nirvana and
leaving our human plain of existence, choose to remain with us to help
other humans attain enlightenment. Please correct me, via e-mail or
comments posted here or both, if I’m wrong; I’m going from a
(excellent) class on Buddhism at Oberlin 20 years ago, so my details
may be wrong. Part of what interests me about Chinese Buddhism is
that, like some of the approaches you see toward Catholicism in Latin
America, there’s really a great deal of syncretism going on —
elements incorporated into Buddhism here that come from other Chinese
folk, religious, or philosophical traditions and that are not
represented in other strains of Buddhism. Dialogue welcome on this
topic in comments section!

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