Every morning as V and I are driving to daycare, we pass a rather lovely Buddhist temple. And there is a huge sign at the entrance, one that always seems to be enticing me to just pull right in.
But, usually, it’s 7 am. And it’s closed.
And also, usually, my son is extremely sticky, which just doesn’t seem temple appropriate.
For the last few weeks, the sign has been advertising an upcoming festival and I felt that this was a sign (which it was) and also a ‘sign’. I should go! I should bring my three-year-old! Monks don’t mind kids, right? What could possibly go wrong!
Well, my memory for one. V and I showed up at the temple yesterday. And even though I saw the sign that said ‘Ceremony 5-15-2011’ and yesterday was clearly the 14th, I pulled my big girl pants up a little and drove in anyways.
I mean, so what, right? It’s open to the public. I can just go and check it out. Right? Jaw clenched, I drove into the parking lot and then for no reason at all, followed the car in front of me around the temple. All around the back, passed the pond, the basketball hoop and that random guy on his cell phone near what looked like monk quarters to me and parked. Right next to the car I was following.
He peered in my window as he walked past us. I pretended I was busy doing something and tried to avoid eye contact. I extracted V from the car, brushed him off in the parking lot and, holding hands, we bravely headed in.
I should note that I used to be extremely uncomfortable doing things like this. Edward used to joke that when we lived in Japan, he was surprised I went anywhere. But I am a big girl now, I can go where I want to. Really.
We were inside for about a minute. It smelled soothing. A lot of people were very, very busy doing things that looked rather important. On the other side of the main entrance, a hall extended filled with chairs ending with an enormous Buddha and a monk lovingly tending to the area surrounding him.
I know that sounds rather vague, but upon seeing Buddha, Vince promptly stated “I wanna go dere.” and attempted to drag me ‘dere’. So we left. Planning on coming back today
Which we did. All three of us. How lovely! It was a lovely morning full of chanting and praying. We wandered aimlessly amongst the shaved ice, mochi and assorted religious paraphernalia. We did not buy raffle tickets. We listened to the monks and with every step, V tried to drag us into the temple.
We finally were dragged up to the front of the temple by V, where some interesting things were going on. Several people were very busy putting the finishing touches on the most gorgeous fresh flowers surrounding numerous little buddha statues, which were standing in a beautiful fountain. Ceremonial ladles were next to each one, for the ‘washing the buddha’ ceremony.
V and washed Buddha. First we washed him the wrong way. “Not on the head, just on the shoulders…” Glad that we watched some other people who didn’t know what they were doing wash Buddha the wrong way too. Yikes!
Anyways, we washed him together, thought thoughtful things about cleansing, peace and love. Slipped a donation in a red envelope and gave it to a lovely woman who told Vince he was the cutest Gator fan ever. Even though he was wearing a Giants jersey.
It was, honestly, a lovely way to start the day… pictures to follow once I find my card-reader.
xoxo to all my sweet, peaceful and thoughtful readers.