Today I went exploring with Robbin, Hillary and Neil to the Lama Temple.
The Lama Temple is a series of vibrantly painted pavilions, primarily built in the 17th and 18th centuries, secured within a walled courtyard. It is a a quiet and tranquil space found in the bustling city of Beijing. It is located on Yongehegong street, which is filled with music and lined with stores selling Buddha statues and incense.
Each temple houses a separate Buddha, there seems to be a Buddha for everything that you would want in life, and the people come to pray, burn incense and make offerings. To make an offering, you kneel before the Buddha with 3 sticks of incense and bow three times while you pray, then you place the unburnt incense in a basket placed at the Buddha’s feet.
You can also burn the incense to honor the Buddha. For this, there are large coal stoves outside each temple. You burn your 3 sticks of incense and then kneel before the temple and bow three times holding your incense in front of you. Then you place the burning incense in the coal stove.
The most magnificent temple, is the one furthest back in the courtyard. It houses a monolithic Buddha statue carved from a single piece of Tibetan sandalwood, standing at 18 meters high (which is just under 60 feet!)! Unfortunately there were no pictures allowed in any of the temples, but kneeling before this Buddha, and peering up to see his face was truly inspiring!
We ate a hearty lunch at Let’s Seafood, and then walked through the indoor market near Sanlitun. We finished our day shopping and haggling with various shopkeepers.