Reverence and serenity
Everything in the universe originates from the mind.
Everything in life, Whether physical or spiritual, originates
from thought energy. The power of the mind is as unlimited as the
universe itself. A thought of love and generosity brings benefit to
mankind; a thought of evil and selfishness results in agony and
emotions. Whatever the mind can conceive and concentrate on,
the mind can achieve. Buddha teaches us to direct every thought
to a good course, and gradually purify our mind to attain
enlightenment. (sign at the Guan Yin Temple)
I arrived at the International Buddhist Society's Guan Yin Temple early as, according to the Richmond tourism website, meditation and lecture would begin at 9am (Tourism Richmond 2000). Having never been to a Buddhist Temple before and knowing very little about their traditions and practices, I was expecting to arrive at the temple to see masses of people bowing before a giant Buddha statue in unison, chanting prayers.
I imagined within the highly decorated walls of the temple I would find a group of people listening intently to the words of a monk or reverend. My assumptions showed my dominant bias - my Christian background. Having been raised with the Christian church I envisioned all religious ceremonies taking on the same form - everyone arriving at a particular time, sitting in the large sanctuary on rows of seats, listening to one or two people preach the word of God, and bowing their heads when told to do so. As it turned out, I was incorrect in my assumptions.
I began by exploring the expansive temple grounds. Upon arriving I felt quite out of place, almost uncomfortable, but having always wanted to visit a Buddhist temple I continued to walk around. The temple was not open to tourists...