Saturday, May 22, 2010

Thai Art

I've been to the Buddhapadipa Temple in Wimbledon several times since my arrival in January. When I go my experience consists of wandering around the temple garden, occasionally finding a spot dry enough to sit and spend the time reflecting. I go there to centre and often the absolute beauty of the grounds inspires me. It was after a temple visit that I made my second Buddha painting.

All my past visits have been during the week, when the temple is closed. The monastery is open to visitors; people come to speak to the monks or to offer food. I've been in the building where they live and had a lovely time there, but all my visits after that first time have been found me quite alone on the grounds.

On the weekends the temple is open for a service and ceremonies are conducted. I was hesitant to go to any of these if only because I enjoyed the serene quality of the grounds when I was there alone. I also found myself going there when the general crush of London was starting to get to me and the point was to avoid a crowd.

Today I felt it was important for me to go, regardless of it being a Saturday.

I'm so glad that I did, as today I've had the most incredible experience of watching a young man being ordained as a monk. I sat inside the temple, surrounded by some of the most stunning and intricate artwork I've ever seen in my life, and participated in a ceremony that is truly indescribable. A very lovely woman sat next to me throughout, explaining the customs and translating when necessary and to her I am ever-so grateful.

There was something so incredibly profound about being there today. I'm not often unable to find the words to express how I feel or what saw, but so much of today was just about being. It was magnificent and serendipitous.

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