Buddha Temple

QUESTION: What are some characteristics of a Buddha temple?

ANSWER:

The main characteristics of a Buddha temple are its unique shapes. The most well known shapes are the pagoda style in China and Japan. Another is the Stupa, a stone structure built on top of presumed relics of Buddha. Copies of Buddha's teachings are also buried beneath some temples. If the temple isn't designed in the shape of a pagoda, there will be a replica of one inside or in the courtyard. Historical temples are very ornate inside with gold and jade, while today's temples are more modern.

The temples of Buddha are designed to symbolize the five elements: Fire, Air, Earth, (square base of temple), Water and Wisdom (pinnacle on top of temple).

Inside, the temple may have a worship hall, meditation hall, and gold warrior-type figures, which are said to be guardians of heaven. A statue of Buddha will be the main subject of interest. Psychedelic lighting highlights the characteristics of the Buddha figure usually sitting in a lotus position. Some Buddha statues were carved from solid pieces of white or emerald jade. The colors of green, orange, and yellow elaborately adorn the roof and walls inside.

Prayers for deceased members will be made over a memorial bed. Figures of demons and monkey guardian statues protect the temple from evil spirits. Lotus flowers symbolize the Lotus Sutra mantra of Buddhism and candles will be lit throughout. A bubbling water column adds the element to the quiet atmosphere.

Monks pray, meditate, and chant or read from the 110-book Pali Tripitaka, which defines the Buddhist philosophy. Although the temple may have a monastery attached, the monks are not housed there as in other monasteries. Symbolic art and sculpture will also adorn the walls of the praying areas. Rich paintings depicting the life of Buddha add to the drama and mystique. More different sized statues of Buddha are placed throughout the temple and on the altar.

Learn More about Buddha!

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