My First Buddha

23:26 Alyson Tart 0 Comments

In Beijing, we went to several temples. I never really thought about the fact that they weren't really temples any more, and never really connected them to religion in China.

Then we headed off to Shanghai, where I was busy with work and figured I would see nothing.

But, I managed to squeeze in a thing or two. And one of the things that Paul and I did on our own was the Jade Buddha Temple.

Despite everything, I have to say that this was one of my favorite things about Shanghai. It was the epitome of old meets new.

The history of the temple itself isn't actually that old. It was built in the late 1800's during the Qing Dynasty to house 2 jade Buddhas that were brought from Burma. After being re-built in the 1920's, it remains an active temple today.

Upon walking in, you see evidence of its current use. Individuals are lighting incense and candles, expressing prayers to Buddha. Behind the temple, you see the high rises of Shanghai, making you feel like you stepped out of the big city into a little haven hidden within its midst.

We first walked into the Great Hall, the most exquisite of the halls. When you first walk in, you see the Three Golden Buddhas. The hall is lined on either side with Gods of the Twenty Heavens. In front are rows of cushions for kneeling in prayer. It was nothing like I had ever seen before. We enjoyed taking a few minutes to stand there in awe.


Next, we sent to see the famous Jade Buddhas. It is an extra cost to go check out these relics and no pictures, but worth the few bucks. The hall where the first Buddha is held is lined with tiny golden statues, helping to make the Buddha itself more impressive.

After wandering through the rooms and shops, we headed towards the back of the temple complex.  Here, we found a koi pond, perfect for sitting and observing, or if you were so inclined, some fish feeding. And so we sat, soaked up the sun, reveled in it all and prepared to head back to the city streets of Shanghai.

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