Sunday, February 5, 2012
Just came back from the Buddhist temple up near L.A. . It's an incredibly impressive place, up on a hill, ringed by mountains. The New Year decorations were still up, inflatable dragons and child-Buddhas, doing various things like building snowmen, reading, searching the web, and whatnot. The temple works every angle, collecting money for snacks (amazing cakes filled with custard or red beans), food (the much vaunted vegetarian lunch, which was quite tasty), a gallery of Buddhist art, and a gold wishing tree, where one can pay a few bucks to buy red money to throw into a phony gold tree while making a wish (suggested wishes include world peace and personal wealth). There were places to take your picture pretending to be a Chinese peasant, and fun for the whole family, generally. While it was not the most sublime artistic experience, it was certainly fun and interesting, and the congregation was very helpful, explaining what was on our plates, how to bow properly before the Buddha, and what prayer to say while we were doing it. They were certainly friendly, though we were some of the only Caucasians in that joint.