When leaving the temple, I felt relaxed and stress-free.
The visit made me want to expand my knowledge about other religions to see whatpractices and other things they do. It was very interesting learning new thingsabout other religions while also being a great place to experience. Buddhismconveys the message of love and kindness and I believe we need more of that inour society. “The axismundi is a symbol representing the center of the world where theheaven (sky) connects with the earth. Different cultures represent the axismundi by varied symbols such as a natural object or of a product of humanmanufacture.
” (New World Encyclopedia, 2016) The axis mundi for theTheravada Buddhists I believe would be their altar where they prayed and didtheir rituals daily. Their altarconnects them between their god and themselves while they pray. With their social order and moral beliefs, Ilooked more into the monks. Ideally, monks own only a few things, such as robesand an offering bowl. Buddhist monks shave their heads because they are notconcerned with outward beauty, but with developing their inner beauty andspiritual lives.
The shaven head is a reminder that they are a part of theirbeliefs. Offering food to monks is a part of Buddhism. They do not beg forfood, but take whatever is given to them. This practice helps the monks to behumble and gives the opportunity to the people in the community to give back toothers. You can prepare food donations for the monks at this temple, yet they’reonly accepted in the morning hours. Along with this, Buddhist ethics follow theFive Precepts. These are “to abstain from taking life, to abstain from takingwhat is not given, to abstain from sensuous misconduct, to abstain from falsespeech, and to abstain from intoxicants as tending to cloud the mind.
” (Keown, 2013)In Buddhism and other religions, they emphasize mediation and concentration techniqueswhich the Temple provides teachings in Spanish and English on Saturdays and Sundays. Theravada Buddhism believes that Nirvana is the ultimategoal and this is the reason why Buddha began to teach. Even though in Buddhism,no God speaks so the Ultimate Being is considered their God that speaks. TheravadaBuddhists would say he is only a man with insights into the meaning of life.They follow the “Doctrine of the Elders” which is considered the oldest recordof Buddha’s teaching. In their language called Pali, the Buddha describes theFour Noble Truths. “The First Truthidentifies the presence of suffering.
The Second Truth, on the other hand,seeks to determine the cause of suffering. The Third Noble Truth, the truth ofthe end of suffering, has dual meaning, suggesting either the end of sufferingin this life, on earth, or in the spiritual life, through achieving Nirvana.The Fourth Noble truth charts the method for attaining the end of suffering,known to Buddhists as the Noble Eightfold Path.” (Buddhism: An Introduction, PBS) Dharma reveals the Buddha’s understanding of lifeand his talks were collected and turned into books called Sutras. There aremany Sutras meaning Buddhism does not have a single holy book.
Also in Buddhism, there is the NobleEightfold Paths, which helps us understand the Four Noble Truths so these twogo hand in hand. “the Noble Eightfold Path… , includes the important ideas of “rightaction”, “right livelihood”, and “right speech.” (Richter) We sat on the mat and prayed in the ways of Buddha byplacing both hands in front of us, then on our forehead, and last placing bothhands and forehead on the mat for a total of three times. These served as waysas paying respect to the Buddha for all his wise teachings. The monk thencontinued to tell me about the teachings and the commandment of the Buddha’ssignificance.
After, we showed me the rest of the temple where I saw picturesof the monks, where they ate, and so much more. I said my thanks to the monkthen proceeded to exit the temple getting one last good look at all its beauty. At first sight, the temple gives off an oriental vibe.The architecture of the building consists of elaborate designs that have anAsian influence.
The agricultural appreciation of the temple includes plants engulfingthe temple. The best way to describe the building is that it’s an enormouswhite structure with gold details. Two gold colored lions stand posted in frontof the entrance showing as a sign of protection. This exact color scheme of redand gold is found inside the building. This partly refers to the beauty aspectKent Richter has in his book “Religion, A study in Beauty, Truth, andGoodness”. The colors and agriculture play a part in the beauty the templeoffers. Immediately as I entered the building, I noticed a monk.
The only timeI have ever seen a monk was in movies, so this was truly exhilarating. I was soexcited to see a monk that I introduced myself to him immediately and told himmy purpose for being at the temple. He seemed very pleased to know that I wasinterested in learning about Buddhism. He told me to take off my shoes and leavethem on the shoe rack because it is one of their guidelines you must follow. Thenhe gave me a handout with a plethora of helpful information. He then started to show me around the templeand explained all the wonders it has.
First, he led me to a part of the temple wherethere was a statue of the Buddha surrounded by other miniature statues ofBuddha with coins and flowers. Traditional offerings are to show respect to theBuddha, which include food, water, incense, flowers, and light from candles. Infront of the statue, there was an ash box with incense sticks standing out. Incense along with flowers and fruit representsome gifts that Buddhist practitioners offer during prayer.
The monk spoke tome about how the ceremonies began such as the lighting the two candles to start.These ceremonies refer to the rituals of Buddhism, which explains what KentRichter calls the Goodness. Then he made me take off my shoes and told me tograb three incenses and explained what each one meant. They are the three treasures of Buddhism;Dharma (the teachings of Buddha), Sangha (community of Buddhist nuns and monks),and the Buddha (The Enlightened or Awakened One).Being raised in anonreligious Christian and Catholic house, my family and I attended church onSundays but once I started working at the age of 14 that tradition stopped. Mymother is the only one in my household that still prays.
Since I recentlyrealized the actual purpose of religion, I wanted to find out what otherreligions believed in. I have vague knowledge on other religions such as Islam andJudaism but had no understanding on what Buddhism, an Asian religion, reallyis. Since I am now taking a religion class, I found this research paper thebest opportunity to really learn about what Buddhism really consists of. To goin depth with my research, the site I visited was the Theravada Buddhist templeWat Buddharangsi of Miami.
It practices the sectarian form of Buddhism calledTheravada Buddhism. This temple is located at 15200 SW 240 St Miami, FL 33032.