Sunday, April 09, 2006

Linying Temple

It did cheer up enough to get out, although it was still quite dark which did impede decent photography. Still, a few choice pictures from today attached.
I have to say that visitors to the Buddhist sites in China seem to fall into the same 4 categories I have devised when witnessing people in churches and cathdrals.

1) The Genuinely Devout
2) The I'll pray to anything if it will help. Is this ashtray holy? Best pray to it anyway to be on the safe side.
3) The I don't really believe in this but think I should keep my hand in just in case
4) The Tourists

As always I'm in camp 4.

I understand and sympathise with the campaign JP advertises over on Argy Bargey but it's hard to argue that religions don't have their place when it comes to funding and constructing great works of architecture though.

It does occur to me that Buddhist sites must be particularly prone to being burnt to the ground by the amounts of incence that people burn and wave around. Windy days must be a particular problem. Fire hoses and extinguishers are in evidence more than you'd expect for China!


dB said...

Actually I've checked Google. There seem to have been temple fires from electrical faults, arson and, oddly, a candle 'being put away when it was not properly extinguished' but none from incense.

Worryingly, as part of this research I came across which describes itself as a 'Spiritual Portal' - that's a worrying new use of the internet.

p said...

Good thing you are in camp 4 as i think taking photos of Buddha statues is frowned upon. Certainly not worth the risk if you were camp 3.

dB said...

Is that because the statues, like Catweazle, believe that taking their photographs will steal their souls?

There are certainly many locals who fall into camp 4 also as not only were there plenty of people taking photos but many of those were doing so from inside (mine were all taken outside) which is specifically prohibited.

I have to say that, even as a tourist, I also find people smoking inside buildings like this to be distasteful and disrepectful to the people who do actually believe.