Sunday, January 31, 2010

Asian Temples

While traveling in Asia, one gets to experience an entirely new religious experience - Buddhism.   Here in the west although, we have many faiths, but really Christianity is the driving force.   In Asia, the wealthy prince, Siddhartha renounced all his worldly possessions to seek enlightenment and thus created the faith that most East and Southeast Asians claim to believe in, even if they rarely set foot in a temple.  Buddhism began in India and took two routes out of the country, north over the Himalayas to China and Japan and South to Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.   While they have differences they both rely on the four noble truths - 1.  Life as we know it involves suffering.   2.  Suffering is caused by the craving of possessions, phenomena or things out of ones control.  3.  Eliminating the cravings, eliminates suffering and thus enlightenment.  4.  The way to achieve enlightenment is to follow Buddha's teachings.

Here is some of Asia's Buddhist Sites:

In the southeast corner of Japan lies a small village and Buddhist retreat called Koya-San which is covered in ancient cedars.  There the man, Kukai, who has said to have brought Shingon Buddhism to Japan is buried.  Because of this, everyone and his mother wants to burried near him thinking that they will gain a free ticket to enlightenment.

In Hanoi, Vietnam there is a lake where today, the communist beliefs are forgotten and women have taken up the entrepreneurial spirit.  They have brought scales down for morning walkers to wiegh themselves and to earn a few Vietnamese dong (dollars) for themselves.  In the center of the lake lies a tiny temple with beautifully carved doors.

In the center of Cambodia lies some of the earth's most fantastic temples and ruins.  They are the temples of Angkor.   Several hundreds of years ago the city thrived until the same drought that did in the ancient Anasazi dried up their water works and caused them to dissappear.  Most of the temples crumbled into the lush jungles waiting to reclaimed by archeologists.   One though, that of Angkor Wat continued to be inhabited by monks to this day.

Thanks as always and send me your feedback.

1 comment:

  1. The strong verticals of the first two shots - send my eye skyward - interesting impact in a holy setting.

    Love the rich saturated color in the red laquer art mixed in the blue light! I enjoy finding the "hidden" items in your shots, like the hint of a cobweb in that blue dusty sunlight. Impactful.

    Just a thought, I wonder if a different crop on the third photo might increase the impact for me. Personally, the heavy monochrome gray sky and stone overpowered the shot for me, but later, when I noticed the three monks - almost the third or fourth thing I noticed - then the shot became quite a bit more interesting for me and it warmed it up more. Later views, I noticed the monks even more and liked the shot better over time because the warm colors of their robes are in such stark contrast. Just a thought, knew you asked for my honest opinion...JodiJoy