24TH October 2018
Time: 10:30 AM
Cultural experience at Thai temple
Thai temple cultural experience was very enjoyable as it was about something new I had not had a chance to visit. Buddhism was the main religious culture practiced in the temple. It is a very unique and unusual religious service compared to other religions I have had experience before. My main objective of visiting the temple was to understand the beliefs, behaviors, rituals, and routines of the Buddhists. Buddhism was founded approximately two thousand five hundred years ago by Siddhartha Gautama. I discovered that Buddhism was founded with the aim to end suffering. Buddha, who is believed to be the founder of the religion, began the Buddhism as a way to find happiness, wisdom, compassion, joy, and equality in life (Princeton, pg 1). It was prevalent to me that Buddhism is a religion that focuses on an individual and the actions of the person.
The event confirmed my prior thoughts and expectations of a Buddhism service. It was just similar to what I had initially envisioned their services. The temple surrounding was very interesting and calm. The Buddhist spent more time chanting the scriptures than interacting with others, something which was contrary to my thoughts. It was very surprising that the service was conducted with very little music. Ideally, many of the religious services involve instrumentals and music. However, the Buddhist did not have any musical instruments apart from little singing from the people.
Devotional practices play an important role in the Buddhism service. Some of the practices involve bowing, giving offerings, pilgrimage and chanting. Buddhism also has basic religious practices which involve; meditation, chanting, and Metta. It is believed that Buddhism was founded on meditative techniques in order to encourage mindfulness and awareness (Princeton, pg 2). Chanting is often done in different languages and is therefore translated for easy understanding. Buddhist dedicate chanting services to the sick, suffering, hungry, and those experiencing pain. Metta, on the other hand, involves loving-kindness meditation (Princeton, pg 3). The Metta concept was first directed to one’s self, then to a benefactor, followed by a friend and finally enemy. The Metta concept was different to other religions such as Christian.
The Buddhist activities during the service were very calming, and soothing. The chanting of the scriptures was so enjoyable and soothing which made the learning and listening easier. Surprisingly, there was minimal interaction among the Buddhist during the service and this made it a little bit difficult to relate.
Minimal interaction with the people inside the temple made me understand the culture more, however it was so uncomfortable for me to handle. Despite the interaction challenge, the rest of the activities performed in the temple were comfortable. This experience taught me how to be open-minded and I became more interested to discover more concerning Buddhism.
Buddhism is often based on five rules that result in achieving moral life and happiness. All in all, it was a positive experience that I enjoyed most of the activities in the temple. The religious service was similar to other services I have attended before. However, I may not choose the Buddhism religion.
My experience better shaped my understanding of the Buddhism culture. It helped me to have a clear understanding of the confusion that many people often ascertain that Buddhists often have statues of the Buddha at places of worship and in their homes. The Buddhists made it clear to me that they did not worship the statues. The statues are just placed in the temple...