|Here in this site, I would share
some of the places in The People Republic of China that have relative presence of
Buddhist interest. Nowadays, I don't write a lot in absolute details as I feel a
short, brief photo journal would be more practical. Besides, it is not always right
to make use of own perspective to relay personal thoughts towards a location with
religious flavor that you have visited. So, IF and hope, whatever published here
has generate some form of interest, you can plan a trip and get your own impression
rather than being influenced with some raw thought here in the web. If whatever nested
herein is not your cup of tea, just treat it as a personal visual journal and/or
potential tourism reference guide if needed, that will be fine. Thanks for reading.
- leofoo - Last Update: 01.02.2011
|Food for Thought
Religion is a cultural system that creates powerful and long-lasting meaning, by establishing symbols that relate humanity to truths and values. Basically, it is all about intended to give meaning to life and/or a preferred lifestyle learn from Guru's ideas about the cosmos and human nature. It is also about faith or belief system of individual. Regardless of what type of religion, each may has its unique form with different culture and practices, while some may put emphasis on practice, while others may has different ways. But, somehow human just tends to has different levels of individual wisdom and intelligence, so whatever we practice, it may direct or indirectly generate different level of influences on what we are believing in and indirectly may affect our societies, social life, education, family, government and even in political power. Besides, religious belief may also has its direct relation to other secondary medium, such as in medical, meditation, music and even as an art form. However, regardless what we respectively believing into, all emphasize heavily centers in human value - which roots from meanings inherited from the respective Guru's principles. Actually none has bad teachings from the respective original fundamental, so, for so long, the basic teachings never change EXCEPT individually, we human does. I would think no one would like to accept the fact where all the raw good meanings, could constantly, unnoticeably and gradually evolving by individual interpretation, along with changes in time, locations, environment, localized cultural practice as well as in some chaotic political conflict zones.
Like Christianity and Islam, two of the main stream religion that had its root originated from respective holy land(s) in Middle East, Buddhism started from Indian continent. Buddhism, more as an original oriental form in belief, is more inclined towards practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha who began laid his teaching between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE (2,550 years ago). Like the 2,011 years old Christianity (with Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant & Non-trinitarian groups within the faith), 1,432 years old Islam (Sunni, Shia, Sufism and other denominations) ; (Err ..actually Hinduism, another mainstream religion, even had its evidence started even earlier than 2,600 BCE, also has diverse groupings); hence, Buddhism also has different schools, the three popular are namely Theravada (more popularly practices in countries like Sri-Lanka, Thailand, Burma, South East Asia) and Mahayana (East Asia continent) with the latter subcategorized out a Vajrayana (Tibet, Qinghai, Mongolia). Well, in many ways and depends on where the locations are, Mahayana Buddhism co-exists alongside other beliefs such as Taoism, Shinto, Shamanism and sometimes the boundaries between the lines can be quite blur for most East Asian. However, REGARDLESS the schools and/or groupings, a major difference that can bind all together is, Buddhism in basic teaching heads all followers to an exact nature of path to liberation, via respective various fundamental teachings as well as practices (Buddha "Guide", Dharma "Teaching" & Sangha "Community"). So, theoretically, under the name of Buddhism, it makes less boundaries among the schools, except for differing ways in their respective practices only. So, here in China, Buddhism mainly practices Mahayana-style and if you view it from perspective of Theravada, it may be a little different.
What I am trying to emphasize is, as a Buddhist, we must learn how to respect a differing ways in carrying out a same belief. We must also accept a fact where there is no such thing as mine kind of religion is better kind of funny thought, because regardless of schools, all are supposedly under the same roof beneath the same teachings, in this case, from our Lord Buddha. The differences in the methods of practice for different schools within a common belief is mainly attributed on diffrent locations such as countries, with each having their respective styles in culture, history, legends, personalities and even in political, where all these elements may has a direct influence over in causing the original form with a differing method in carrying out the practices. So, Buddhism in China is a typical example, the religion can be tracked with evidence that Buddhism could already found its root into the country as early as back in 217 BC during the Hang Dynasty. While an acceptable belief is, the first documented translation of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese languege had already been realized probably way back as early as to 148 CE. So, depends on where you are residing now or the school of practice you are preferred, Buddhism here in the great continent does has a very long development history than any of you can imagine. While I can offer another example for cross reference for this is, Bangkok, the capital of modern Thailand, only had an approx. 250 years since being established as capital city of Siam after the ancient capital, Ayutthaya city was totally ruined during the Burmese invasion back in 1767. So, there is no such thing as which or where school is more superior than another. If you still can't RESET your mind set, it can very difficult to accept other matters and it is a pity to do so. Here I just gave another example relating to recent history, take a good look at a Buddhism temple designed & built in Yangoon, Burma during the British reign who had designed a Buddhist temple with a amusing Church-looked outfit, typically it reflects a short duration change in political scene could affect the form and style on a traditional local culture. So, with political and localized social changes in living patterns changed, the original form may or could have been altered, adapted and evolved. Thus, by going through a few thousand years in changes, Buddhism here in this China has evolved as a localized version. Actually, the same goes for Thailand which seemingly many of the locals are more fond in misinterpreting legends or Buddhist personalities who may have more 'power' than the inherited original Buddhist faith and/or teachings that are supposed to be follow and/or practicing with, that sounds funny enough too, right ?
My theory is simple, i.e. there is only one Buddha. I will accept places wherever I can find a him close-by when at times, I need to find external faith.
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