Imperial China, The Yangtze River & Tibet
May, 2007, an OAT Tour

Imperial Beijing Today - The Lama Temple

The two major "religions" in China are not religions as we often think of the term, they are more similar to philosophies of living a good life in harmony with nature helping your fellow man.

Confucius emphasized the "socially responsible self." Confucianism teaches obedience to and reverence for one's parents and one's ruler. His teachings emphasized a philosophy of family obligations and good government based on principles of benevolence and righteousness. The Emperor will get better result if he rules in a just manner, he said. Confucius' ideas were the bases of merit examinations for the promotion of civil servants rather than seeking favors from higher officials. Confucius died relatively unknown in his life but his disciples spread his teachings. Paying respects to one's ancestors is based on filial piety and has a significant impact on China even today.

Buddhism is based on the teaching of Buddha who loved in northern India during the 6th century B.C. It was probably spread along the silk road by immigrants from Central Asia. Buddhism surged during periods of instability when Confucianism's veneration for authority did not sit well with the people. It was eventually adopted by China's rulers. Buddhism has a belief in reincarnation - consecutive lives that are better or worse depending upon the "karma" (merit) of the previous life. In Tibet the Yellow Hat sect was founded in the 1300's by Tsongkhapa and his disciples became the Dalai Lamas, rulers of Tibet for 500 years. In Buddhism a person should seek salvation by helping others find enlightenment through deeds and devotion bringing them closer to nirvana. This temple was originally a residence for a Chinese royal family who converted to Buddhism. I understand that during a visit to Beijing the Dahli Lama stayed here, hence its name.

Not knowing what to expected we headed down a narrow street toward a Hutong      We walked by the Confucius Temple built in 1302. Unfortunately it was closed for repair Confucius

Little girl carrying incense.      Incense for sale

The plain enterance to the Lama Temple gives no clue to the wonders inside      Temple grounds is just one shrine after another.

Incense burner in front of one shrine      The roof guardians

Incense burners in front of every shrine      Burning incense at a shrine.

      Statue of Buddha in one of the shrines

8      7

Prayer wheel      9

10      The Laughing Buddha

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