The Way is in The Heart
April 7, 2012
I recently returned from a trip to Chicago. I’ve always loved Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. It’s one of the largest fountains in the world. It’s another heat wave in the Midwest. Enjoy this visual/virtual relief.
A short video of this beautiful fountain:
Buckingham Fountain-Behind the Scenes
Today I came across a blog with a writer’s workshop. Instructions:
Post a picture and a description that fits into this quote for you:
“How far to heaven? Just open your eyes and look. You are in heaven” -Shankar
I find heavenly people, places and more all around me each day. Still, one place came to mind for me when I read about this workshop exercise. Oahu. More specifically, The Byodi-In Temple at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. The photo above shows the temple, set amidst the trees and hills to the side and the mountain to the back. Water flows in front of the temple. This is an ideal setting in Feng Shui. The mountain at the back and the hills to the sides represent protection. The water in front brings prosperity and abundance. I felt an incredible peace here.
The Magnificent Byodo-In Temple translates to “Temple of Equality — not to discriminate” and is home to Amida, a golden Buddha unique to the entire world.
This Buddha is thought to be the largest figure carved since ancient times. It towers more than 18 feet and is an original work of art carved by the famous Japanese sculptor, Masuzo Inui.
The Bell House, above, contains a five-foot high, three-ton brass bell called bon-sho (sacred bell). It closely resembles the bell hanging in an identical Bell House at the Uji Byodo-In. The tone of the bell sounds a message of deep calm and peace and is said to cleanse the mind of evil and temptation. The resonant sound of the bell travels for some distance so one hears it while walking through the temple and along the grounds. The bell is customarily rung before one enters the temple to spread the eternal teachings of Buddha. I made a short video of the bell being rung when I visited and I listen to it with regularity.
The Byodo-In was built entirely without nails and is a scale replica of a temple at Uji Japan that was constructed over 900 years ago. It is built to represent the mystical phoenix with its wings upheld by pillars of stone. Folklore tells of the phoenix arising from the ashes to reflect promises of hope and renewal. Isn’t that a heavenly thought?
A view from the meditation area.
This, then, was one experience I had of heaven on earth.
It was all too short a visit. I’d return in a heartbeat.
More on the Writer’s Workshop: