Saturday, October 10, 2009

Guyuan Si Buddhist Temple

These pictures are all from our trip to Guyuan Si the Buddhist temple that is about an hour away from our apartment.
I kept seeing people rub coins against these things all over the temple grounds and was really confused until our friend Ryan explained to me that if you can rub the coin long enough and fast enough to magnetize it and make it stick, you get good luck. Some of the Chinese people were cheaters and would just stick their coins on some random ledge and count that as sticking. I didn't get my jiao to stick, but I also gave up after about a minute. Just in case you didn't already know, when you rub a little piece of metal quickly and continuously against a big piece of metal, the little piece of metal gets HOT and can start to burn your finger. Good Chinese luck was not worth the effort or burnt fingers for me.
The picture above and below are shrines within the temples. Apparently you are not supposed to take pictures of them because while McKay was taking these a little Chinese lady came in and told us over and over in Chinese that we could not take pictures. Of course we didn't understand her, so she walked us over to a sign around the corner and showed us a picture of a camera with and X through it. That helped me understand pretty quickly. At least we were able to get a few pictures before we were caught.

This little red thing is really fun. I think it is another good luck mechanism. The Chinese people would line up and take their turn throwing coins at it trying to hit a little gong or bell in the center of the opening. We stood there and watched for a few minutes until somebody actually hit it. I didn't even try because I am not the most accurate coin thrower.
These carvings along the side of one of the temple walls were amazing! Each panel is a different story or fable, and each has a very intricate illustration carved into the rock.

This is one of those things you rub the coins on. It was the biggest and fanciest one in the park, so i figured it might give me more luck than the smaller plain ones!

Part of the entrance fee to the temple goes towards a few sticks of incense. The first thing that happens when you enter the gates is that they hand you some incense and send you over to light it and worship something (I am not sure what, I guess I am not very knowledgeable about Buddhism). McKay and I just ended up just lighting them and sticking them in to the ashes with all the others. We didn't do any of the bowing or chanting stuff that every one else was doing. At that moment i really felt like an outsider. It made me wonder what it would be like for people with no knowledge of my religion coming to church and trying to figure out what to do without speaking the language. Confusing. Utterly confusing, yet extremely interesting. That is what it was like for me anyway.

We had a really fun time while we were there, and once we were out of the main gate (which McKay is standing in front of in this picture) there were tons of little stores to shop in. If any one wants any kind of Buddhist statues, or replicas of the monks clothing, or mini shrines, I know where to find them.

1 comment:

Kayli said...


Are you happy with the clothes you brought? Are there any you wish you would've taken with you? I always wonder that!