Photo Inventory (Vietnamese Buddhist Temple)

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1. McKaycee AbrenicaRominna De TorresAnthropology 121November 8, 2014 2. This is one of the altars in the temple. Each altar has its own Buddha. A Buddha issimply one who has reached enlightenment. Meaning, anyone can be a Buddha. The fatjolly guy of which we usually see is actually the Chinese god of luck and fortune -- whowas once a man but reached enlightenment through the folly of his luck and fortune.Thus, he was a Buddha, and enlightened. The skinny guy is Gautama Siddhartha, whoreached enlightenment meditating under the Bodhi tree, after a life of wealth and thensevere self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, then realizing the truthof the middle path. Thus, he was a Buddha, and enlightened. Buddha statuesmeditating can be visual symbols and reminders of inner peace, good fortune, healing,calm and can be a powerful motivational reminder that each and every one of us hasBuddha nature within us. 3. In Buddhism, a bodhisattvais an enlightenment being.Traditionally, a bodhisattvais anyone who, motivated bygreat compassion, hasgenerated bodhicitta, whichis a spontaneous wish toattain Buddhahood for thebenefit of all sentient beings.A bodhisattva is one whohas a determination to freesentient beings fromsamsara and its cycle ofdeath, rebirth and suffering.This type of mind is knownas the mind of awakening(bodhicitta). Bodhisattvastake bodhisattva vows inorder to progress on thespiritual path towardsBuddhahood. 4. They had a sound systemthat plays Buddhist Musiccontinuously. The reason for itis to help purify the hearts oflisteners nonstop while in thetemple after the ceremony isover. The lifestyle common tomost people today is busyand quite stressful. Withmany people seeming to haveno place to take any kind ofspiritual refuge it can oftenbecome quite easy for themto become lost in themselves.The pure and clear soundingmelodies of Buddhist Musicaim to provide a way tocommunicate the higherspiritual states of mind thatare advocated by theDharma, and can serve toenrich and re-energize thehearts of people. 5. The Buddhist monastic order is dividedinto two assemblies, the male bhikkhu,and the female bhikkhuni assembly.Monks and nuns are considered to beresponsible for the preservation anddissemination of the Buddha's teachingand the guidance of Buddhist laypeople. An abbess or abbot, typically asenior monastic still young enough to beactive, is usually responsible for theday-to-day administration of themonastery, and may appoint others toassist with the work. In some traditions,the abbess/abbot is chosen by a vote ofthe monastics in a monastery. Monksand nuns are expected to fulfill a varietyof roles in the Buddhist community. Firstand foremost, they are expected topreserve the doctrine and discipline nowknown as Buddhism. 6. This woman made origami of alotus flower. The most oftenflower in Buddhist shrines, or onthe base of statues, are lotuses,as they represent the potential oractuality of Enlightenment. TheBuddha is likened to the lotus.Like a lotus that rises out of amuddy pond, the Buddha roseabove the defilements andsufferings of life. We are right nowsurrounded by defilements andsufferings, just as the lotus seedis surrounded by dirt, mud andfilth. We should rise above ourdefilements and sufferings, justlike the lotus flower arising abovethe muddy water. This serves toremind us of our own potentialBuddhahood. We may havedefilements today, but we all havethe potential of growing out ofdefilements and achievingwisdom like the Buddha. 7. This is called morning gong. In themorning, the gong is set to create astream of intense sounds followed by aslow pace. This is to remind the massthat they are have come to the end of along night and do not indulge oneself indeep unconsciousness; in the evening,the gong is sounded in the reverseorder, that is, slow then a faster pace,this is to remind everyone that theyshould be aware of illusions andunconsciousness; also that they musthelp relieve all beings in the netherworld from suffering. According to oneof the monks, n today's society, manysuffer from stress that occur within ourlives and spiritual lives that are dryingup. When they hear sounds of thegong from temples occasionally, theywill be able to get away from all worriesand bathe in the environment oftranquility and peace away from thismundane world. 8. This is called an eveningdrum. It is also a drum usedfor ceremonies. According toa woman in the temple, thesound of this drum helpsthem focus on the ceremony.The drum can awaken thosewho have lost themselves inthe chase of fame andfortune. The drum is hitsteadily in a combination offast and slow paces creatinga roaring sound of thunder. Ifyou listen very carefully youwill be able to recognizesounds of the wind, rain, andthunder; these sounds signifytimely wind and rain (goodweather) and nationalprosperity. 9. A wooden fish, also known as aChinese temple block, is a woodenpercussion instrument. It is oftenused during rituals usuallyinvolving the recitation of sutras,mantras, or other Buddhist texts.The wooden fish is often used forrites of death and resurrection.During funerals, people may walkin processions while soundingwooden fishes in a slow andunison rhythm. Other purposesmay include prayers for rain. InConfucianism, the wooden fish isstruck at specific intervals tosignify certain stages ofceremonies at temple. InBuddhism, it is struck duringchants of Buddha's name. Thewooden fish symbolizes wakefulattention. It can also symbolizewealth and abundance. 10. This is a bell bowl (Da Quing), andit has different functions. chantingsessions or Dharma functions in atemple, it will enable all participantsto regulate their thoughts and calmtheir minds. By doing this, peoplewill be able to achieve betterinteractions with Buddha andBodhisattvas through deepersincerity. They may be made fromstone or jade, but the majority aremade from metals such as bronzeor steel. Other than chantingsessions and Dharma functions,whenever the Abbott of a temple isvisiting another temple, as theyenter the shrine to pay respect tothe Buddha, the Da-Qing must besounded three times as they makeprostrations, following that, theAbbott of that temple will come togreet the guests. 11. The bell symbolizesBuddha's voice. It calls forthe protection of heavenlydeities. The sound of thebell equals the sound ofthe Dharma, or the entityor law, which sustains theorder of things in theuniverse. These protectivedeities are more like minorgods, or those represent afunction of the higher self,called Buddhahood(Bodhisattvas). Buddhismcalls for people to payattention to the now. Thisfocus is also calledmindfulness. The gentlering of the bell serves tofocus a follower's attention,bringing it out of futureworries or pulling it awayfrom past concerns. 12. These are real fruits offered tothe Buddha for prosperity.Buddhists don't pray to god, soone way of cultivating andpracticing positive thoughts is toplace the fruit there as asymbolic act and reminder ofgiving. The fruit isn't sacred butshows the person has lovingand positive thoughts. The fruitis later eaten: in temples, it'sgiven free to whoever's hungry.If you were invited to have ameal with them, you'd be thefirst one offered the fruit as itagain becomes part of the act ofgiving and generosity. Itrepresents the nourishment inspiritual cultivation and helps usbe mindful of the law of causeand effect (KARMA) 13. Incense stands for ethics andmorality. It represents a person.Imagine that you are a stick ofincense. Someone comes along andlights up a matchstick. The personthen uses the lighted matchstick andlit you up. Immediately, you areburning away. As you are burning,your body gives off a lovely fragrantsmell. This fragrance spreadsthrough the air and brings joy andhappiness to people's heart. Theperson then offers you to the Buddha.You are being put into an incensepot. You stand happily in the incensepot because you know that you havean important role to play. Yourfragrance symbolizes the fragranceof pure moral conduct. And thisreminds people to cultivate goodconduct. Also, It creates a feeling ofserenity. 14. Buddhists believe that the flame onthe candles represents the light ofBuddhas teachings. Candles areplaced in front of shrines as a markof respect. Buddha and Bodhisattvasare the Light that guides all sentientbeings in darkness. When a candleis lit up, it can light up other candles.That means when we put others first,then other people probably will followour examples, thus creating a brightwonderful world. Buddhists also usecandles to further their faith. Theyisolate themselves in a quiet roomand stare into the flame of thecandle, focusing all of their attentionon it. They believe that as they stareat the flame their minds will becomeenlightened as the worries ofeveryday begin to drift away. Theyhope to receive visions, images, andthoughts to guide them. 15. This is a Vietnamese Buddhistancestor altar. There are pictures ofthe members who died a long timeago, and recently. Flowers arededicated which symbolize theshortness of life and the constantchange fundamental in existence.Vietnamese believes in the life afterdeath. They believe the deceasedhas a power that can bring goodfortune to the living people. Livingmembers in family can be protectedfrom accident by the ancestors. Inreturn, ancestors will becommemorated and worshiped bytheir present generations. For theVietnamese, each person has twoparts: one for body tangible partand one for soul intangible part.After the death, the spirits exist inanother realm for further three or fourgenerations. 16. After interviewing them, we were asked to have lunch in the temple. Theydont eat any kinds of meat for they believe that every creature that breathesneeds to be respected. Also, if one pursues the path of the Bodhisattva forenlightenment, one should avoid meat eating to cultivate compassion for allliving beings. The act of eating meat is not always prohibited. One if theladies there said that they can eat meat outside of the temple grounds. Theyrecommend a vegetarian diet, for Buddha insisted that his followers shouldnot eat the flesh of any sentient being. The monks, most especially, shouldabstain from any meat.