Tag Archives: Buddhism

Thailand’s ancient capitals

We arrived in a country I had long wanted to visit, but Bangkok was noisy and polluted and I couldn’t wait to leave. This long narrow nation had had four capitals. Each time invaders from China pushed south, the indigenous peoples moved further south.

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Sarnath – a quiet corner of India

There are many places throughout Northern India and Nepal that are connected to Lord Buddha. The most significant include—Lumbini Province in Nepal where Buddha was born, Bodh Gaya where Buddha obtained enlightenment, and Sarnath where Buddha gave his first sermon to his five companions who later became monks and spread the faith. These were also the sites where the 7th century Chinese monk, Xuanzang was eager to explore during his twenty-year pilgrimage. He had secretly left China in the night because he believed that some of Chinese Buddhism had been misrepresented.

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Golguram Hermitage

This hermitage, not far from Gyeongju’s east coast, contained a stone-carved seated Buddha. Steps led to small caves where other statues were contained before I finally reached the four metre high Buddha. It was believed that the Silla Buddha image was carved between the 7thand 9thcentury where originally there had been twelve caves at the site. Continue reading Golguram Hermitage

Three-storey pagodas

After unifying the three kingdoms on the Korean Peninsula in the latter half of the 600s AD, King Munmu-wang, the 30thruler of Silla began construction on Gameusaji temple in the hope of repelling Japanese invasions. Because he died before its completion, his son, King Sinmun completed the project in 682 AD. Continue reading Three-storey pagodas

Cheongyeonam Hermitage

I took the road deeper into the forest away from Beomeosa Temple where a sign pointed to three different hermitages. If I found Beomeosa Temple quiet, this route was dead silent. A handful of faithful knelt before shrines. A few people walked the grounds, but otherwise there was no one. Continue reading Cheongyeonam Hermitage


Sho-ren-in was known as one of the five Monzeki temples in Kyoto whose head priests were originally from the imperial family. It was one of the main lodgings in the mountain used by several well known priests. Continue reading Sho-ren-in

An accidental visit to Higashi Honganji

I sped past this complex when I first arrived in Kyoto. But a few days later when I hiked in the general direction of my hotel, I passed by the site once again. This time I crossed over a moat and entered through the Founder’s Hall Gate into the temple complex, Higashi Honganji, officially known as Shinshu Honbyo. Continue reading An accidental visit to Higashi Honganji

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

I may not have seen any tooth inside Chinatown’s Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, but it didn’t matter. This was the most elaborate temple I’d stepped into in Singapore. The building was huge while inside I lost count of the number of Buddha statues that festooned the walls. Continue reading Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Vietnamese devotion

I’d observed Vietnamese devotion on many occasions. When I visited a shrine dedicated to eight women who were trapped in a cave after U.S. bombing, I was moved by the way the Vietnamese remembered these women who had been building a road. Continue reading Vietnamese devotion