China - Temples

There is more to the temples in the Chinese metropolis than just the obvious cultural value, more than meets the eye. China is one of the fastest developing countries in the world and a lot of times that means collateral damage, a certain loss, both of innocence and of the visual and functional life of the city.

The temples I have visited were islands of sanity above all, and although they were amazing on so many levels and some of them were so captivating I came back to them again and again even with the numbered days I had there, the most immediate feeling you get when you first step into one of these temple gardens is of peace and silence that are not of this time.

In shanghai the temples were a place to hide from the super modern fast pace of the hyperactive hypermodern life energy that surrounds you and in Beijing it was just a matter of escaping the communist grey that still drowns this city.

But when you walk into one of these gardens, with the very accurate walking path leading here and there, seemingly random but very precise in the progression of your meditative walk, passing the fish pond, under a small gate, a couple of sculptures, a couple of old trees, a bench. Every temple holds the whole world inside it, just waiting for you to immerse in it.

 

 
 

As most things in china, the temples are usually far too big. I am not talking hey look here is a big temple, I am talking more of a forty minute walk back to the main entrance kind of big. Not that we minded. On the contrary, we were always reluctant to step back into the ‘real’ life.

There is something extremely pleasant about asian temples, which manage to combine the proper feeling of worthlessness in a huge space with a humble approach and a decorative attitude which is more of a celebration than of the western notion of worship.

There are dozens of temples to be seen in china, and we have not even visited the tip of the iceberg, but if you are doing your visit plans, do try and combine the different kinds of temples, the variations of the religious practice, the Buddhist, the Taoists, the confuzians, all seemingly alike yet under the surface you can see the ideas and the belief systems incorporated in the architecture, in the artwork, in the mode of practice, direction of walking, division of services, all pieces of that puzzle that has been holding on for over five thousand years.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                     
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