We kept driving by this place and decided to go look. We recognized the guards of the Buddhist temple at the front, but the language on the sign was one we didn’t know. We went into the grounds and walked around taking pictures for you. This is on 44th street around the Del City, Oklahoma City area. A man stopped and talked to us. He was Vietnamese. He said that there were Vietnamese Buddhist services there every Sunday. They have chosen to use Sunday, the day churches meet, probably because that is easier in a place like Oklahoma. We were just site seeing. We walked around looking at their statues and taking pictures for you.
In Korea, they use Hechi, a mythical beast, as the guardians of palaces and temples. The guardians here in Oklahoma seem to be lions.
We walked around the grounds looking at their statues. If you look in front of this Buddha statue, there is a place where they burn incense and pray. There are also two guardians in front of him and a smaller Buddha statue of Buddha sitting.
On the front of the baby Buddha, you can’t see it in the picture, but there is a swastika. However, it has nothing to do with Germany. There is a Buddhist symbol that looks like a swastika. In Korea, Buddhist business owners put this sign on their businesses so other Buddhists know that they are Buddhists and will trust them.
I touched one of the disciple statues, and I think they are all made of white marble. Many people see the statue of a fat guy and think it is Buddha, but it isn’t. In these pictures, you can see what Buddha actually looked like. Those fat guy statues you see are the disciples of Buddha.
Something was going on at the Buddhist temple today. The doors were open, but we didn’t go in. When I looked inside, there were lots of tables, and it looked like they had some sort of project going on like what goes on in churches. Outside, there were long tables lined up end to end with some sort plant they had picked and rice bowls and rice spoons in tubs on a cart next to the tables.
In front of the temple, there was a white marble statue of some woman. Neither more daughter nor I knew who the woman was supposed to be. It was the same statue that was behind the baby Buddha, so perhaps it was his mother. Buddha was actually an Hindu prince from India who decided to become a monk. He was an extremely radical monk and began a new religion.
The statue inside the front window of the temple was familiar to me. I had seen this statue at the temple doors in Japan and also in some of the pictures my dad took when he was in Thailand. From my understanding, he is another guardian of the temple. The apples next to him are a kind of sacrifice.
In Korea, at funerals, they put fruit like that in front of a picture of the dead person when you go to the wake. At Korean wakes, you don’t actually see the dead body, but just a picture that has fruit in front of it, and you go and eat and visit with the family. In Japan, they put the fruit on their god shelves at home to take care of their dead relative that the god shelf is built to honor. In Japan, this is a place to pray.
On the gate of the building that sat across the way, there were small pictures of lotus blossoms up in the corner. Since we are in America, and I have seen so many pictures advertising marijuana since I have been here, I had to look closely because I didn’t want to think marijuana had gotten into religious practices. It wasn’t a picture of marijuana, but of a lotus blossom. In Buddhism, a lotus blossom symbolizes purity, eternity, or Nirvana.
You see, the Buddhist believe that if they have been good enough on the earth, they become one with the universe which is Nirvana. the Hindus call this one with Brahmin, or one with the universe. They don’t have the advantage that Christianity has of being able to be forgiven of their sins and going on to Heaven when they die. If they have messed up in Buddhism or Hinduism, they have to come back and live a life all over again. They do it again and again until they can finally be good enough to earn their way to Nirvana or to be one with Brahmin. It could take thousands and thousands of years to meet the perfection they need to become one with the universe. If they are too bad, they may come back next time as a mouse, a pig, or a bug. Radical Hindu priests like Buddha actually strain their water trying not to get any microbes in it just in case one of them is a relative. Hinduism also teaches that people are gods. The Buddhists think they can control the spirits of their dead relatives by leaving the fruit, the rice, and the tea and praying to them. If they keep them happy and take good care of them, they won’t be vengeful and do something bad to them.
The Buddhists, Hindus, and Shinto try to control the spiritual forces. Christianity is quite a bit different. We understand that God is big and powerful, the most powerful force in the universe. Instead of trying to control him, we let him control us because we understand that we are nothing in front of such a great God. He made us, and we trust him to know what is best for us. The Bible says our righteousness is dirty rags in front of him. We can’t do anything to become good enough to earn Heaven. We just have to trust God and do what he asks. It doesn’t matter how many good things you do, without God, you are still lost. However, the Buddhists and the Hindus think they can earn Nirvana or becoming one with Brahmin.
Close to the entrance to the Buddhist temple, there were four flags flying. One flag was the American flag, another the Oklahoma flag. Since it is a Vietnamese Buddhist temple, perhaps one of the flags is Vietnamese, but I don’t know what the other flag could be unless there is a Buddhist flag.
I found images of the Vietnamese flag and the Buddhis flag, and these are the flags that were flying in front of the Buddhist temple out on 44th street somewhere between Del City and Oklahoma City. I hope you enjoyed the tour.