The Bodhi Temple

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To start with, the service at the Bodhi Temple started at 10 am. At the front of the temple were three identical Buddhas. The middle Buddha was the original founder of Buddhism. On the left sat the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. On the right sat Amida, who, according to the “guide” who helped me understand the rituals, resides in the Pure Land in Pure Land Buddhism. Most of the service was facing the Buddhas, and all the meditations and chanting was directed towards the Buddhas as well. In front of the three Buddhas were many offerings of vegetables and fruits and incenses burning. The first ritual was bowing three times. All people attending the service bowed their head, then got down to the floor to bow their head, and get back up to bow …show more content…
Because it originated with heavy influence from Hinduism, “Buddhism is rooted in the Indian doctrine of samsara...determined by its karma” (Neusner 202). In Hinduism and Buddhism, the time is cyclical, with no beginning nor end, and the way to escape the cycle is by reaching a state peaceful state of nirvana. Until this state is achieved, we continue to come back in one of the six realms of rebirth: the gods, asuras, humans, animals, hungry ghosts, and in hell, all being dictated by karma, the deeds (Prebish and Keown 23). To reach nirvana, the Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths. The first of the Four Noble Truths is that “all is suffering” (Neusner 203). This provides a further reason to seek nirvana and freedom from samsara. The second of the Truths is that “suffering comes from desire and desire comes through a complicated mental process, from ignorance” (Neusner 204). This also reflects the Hindu teaching against desire, showing that Buddhism also discourages individuality, as Hinduism does (Lecture Notes). This tenet of the religion was exemplified throughout the service at the Bodhi Temple. The purpose of all the chantings and meditation was to drown oneself in the company spiritually and shed all the individuality. In addition, since ignorance is reason for the problem of desire, this further explains that the encouraged and seeked knowledge in Buddhism is the Eastern, intuitive, inner, incommunicable knowledge experienced through the soul, again showing influence from Hinduism (Lecture Notes). The silent meditation may have been an attempt to gain that intuitive knowledge from the inner self. The third of the Truths that “Nirvana is the definite end of the cycle of

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