神圣空间 – Sacred Spaces

When I started this post yesterday, it was about my day to day life in China and the last two action-filled weekends.  But today I went with Alicia and Kerensa (both fellow teachers) to the Manjushri Monastery and it made the day to day seem a bit irrelevant.

The Manjushri Monastery was built sometime between 618-907 CE and is named after a monk who is believed to have been the reincarnation of the Bodhisattva Manjusri.  In addition to hundreds of relics, there are also over 300 statues of Buddha made out of everything from painted wood to iron to jade.

This is the stuff I can tell you.

I can relate the silly things that happened there: the teenage girls who clamored to get their pictures taken with me because I am so clearly a foreigner, the cute guy who followed me around for exactly the same reason, the woman who told me I needed an umbrella so my pale skin would not be ruined by the sunlight, etc.  And below I can show you the pictures of the architecture, the crowds, the incense.

But I can’t relay the feeling I got being there, watching the movements, the sanctity, the quest for enlightenment.  You’ll have to search elsewhere for pictures of the inmost rooms, the Buddhists in their devotion, and the monks in meditation.  I feel there some pictures you don’t take and some experiences where words only serve to turn sacred to profane.

So I leave you with the trivial photos, hoping they will satiate any curiosity about China for a while.  I recommend playing the chant I continuously heard while looking at them…

The Chant:

The Monastery:

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