A visit to a Buddhist temple

Jul. 04, 2013 @ 04:03 PM

Editor’s note: This is part one of a three-part series on experiencing non-Christian faiths.

What does one wear to a Buddhist temple? That’s the question I faced Sunday when I decided to visit one with a friend. I thought about wearing my hippie-ish skirt, but nixed it and went for jeans. The website said to come comfortable.

The temple was in an old house, and walking up the gravel driveway, I felt like I was going to grandma’s. It was unassuming and peaceful – except for the busy road out front.

I left my shoes on the porch before going in to help keep the temple clean and make it easier to sit on the floor. Circular carpets were provided to sit on, as well as sheets of thick paper to place beside us so the accordion-paged book of Buddha’s teachings never touch the floor.

The small room of the temple was pretty and cozy. It reminded me of our home when we first moved in; the previous homeowners left small Buddha statues on flat rocks in the backyard and a big orange and yellow Buddha painting in the office.

The temple was full of red, black and gold – wall hangings, candles and what I would consider trinkets, but which I’m sure had some bigger meaning. On the left was a big drum turned sideways on a wooden platform, and it was all I could do not to bang it.

My friend and I were joined by two others our age. The priest had white hair and gave a warm welcome, wearing a long gray robe with a gold-brown sash. The temple’s website says he likes to walk his dog and play the flute. He’s a hospital chaplain and supports the gay and lesbian

See Temple/Page A10