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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

February 21, 2013


I've never seen anything like it. I had read a bit about it, and during this particular day I had seen plenty of Buddhist Temples, but this one was overwhelming.

It may have been because I was tired, or because the rains produced a wonderful sticky atmosphere, or perhaps because it was getting dark, and frankly the huge Stupa was just plain creepy. Wonderful... but still kinda creepy in the early dark.

A block away, at another temple and stupa, I had seen over the rooftops and noticed the brick stupa and so hurried down the street to see what there was. I first came across the temple and therein was a Buddha... actually many Buddhas in the front. I went in and sat on the floor and what I noticed (besides the fact that I cannot sit with my legs folded under... couldn't even do so very well even when I was 12) was that the temple was quite large. A few folks were intent upon snapping pictures and the young monk was hesitant to make waves. We exited the temple and went to the back.

Here was the magnificent "Temple of the Big Stupa" (a stupa being a sacred mound or building). This was brick, and its sheer size in the pale sunset was overwhelming. It had been built in the 1400's and sort of survived an earthquake and re-build, but there is a large portion of the top which is gone. It has four sides and three have Buddhas still in them at the very top.

All you could do was circle the Stupa and be amazed at its height and sheer size. Newer temples have been built on the grounds and this is still a place of worship, but there is no apparent upkeep of this stupa. It just sits, looming over this city. Three Buddhas facing three of the four corners of the earth.

I circled the stupa in the fading light. The hi-beam lights were coming on and it gave the Stupa and Buddhas at the top a certain grandeur. (You can see photos at www.tussinthai.blogspot.com Look for my entry: Be Bop Stupa. I'll explain that some day.)

So, I continued my walk around the Temple of the Big Stupa. I found myself in the midst of some saffron-robed Buddhist Monks. This is nothing unusual in this part of the world. But, as I looked up at the Buddha on the top of the temple, I sensed that I was getting in the way of these holy men who had their hands and arms up in the air, and I thought were trying to revere Buddha. I looked for a way to exit their company to afford them the sacred moments which they required.

Then I realized, I WAS getting in their way. They were all trying to focus their iPhone cameras on the Buddha.

It's a new world out there.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing

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