This photo from my old collection is probably one of my favorite for inspiring hope. In light of Sunday’s tragedy at the Sikh temple I think we could all use a little hope. This image is from the Buddhist Stuppa in Sedona, Arizona, the items or all offerings different visitors, the uniqueness showing the diversity in prayer. While I don’t believe in Buddhism like my father, or Christianity like my mother, I recognize the good in both of them. I thought it was scary enough when Columbine in the City where my Uncle lived. My cousins new people who were there. That hit close to home, this weekends Temple attack in my own hometown, the city next to my current home, that is, disorientating. I never imagined that the world would ever know where my hometown is. Hearing the boring town you group in mentioned on BBC world news is scary. When we went to Batman last week I commented that it’s good we live in nowhere instead of a big city, we don’t have to worry about scary terrorist attacks, and then this happens. It might be a hate crime, but it’s still a terrorist attack, hateful killing of American Citizens. And As someone who loves to study and absorb different cultures I just do not understand the hate. My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones, and to those who will have to live with the scars caused by a monster. I pray for a world with more peace and cultural understanding.
It’s a new year, and time for new adventures! In 2011 I barely even left the state (I think I went down to Ohare airport once). This year I’m aiming to at least make it to Austin at some point. Hopefully in 2012 a Wings Eye View can show some of America. Until then I will celebrate with some burning incense from the temple of SriChang. These were burning in front of the line of Buddha’s shown in A Buddha A Day.
A shrine in Hokane, Japan
While on our trip to Hokane to view Mt Fuji we spotted this shrine next to one of the train stops. We couldn’t resist getting off to explore on our way home. It was a bit scary getting off the train, not knowing when the last train went by or where exactly we even were on the mountain side. The shrine was fascinating. It was so different from the shrines in Thailand, though I saw some similar themes. The sun was setting and the woods around the area was getting quite dark, giving the whole area a mystical feel. It made me wonder if some of the demons and spirits always seen in occult animme were watching from trees.
The Naga at night.
The picture above is a common temple decoration in Thailand. The large green dragon creature is called a Makara, and the serpents coming out of his mouth are the Naga. It’s really quite amazing how religious mythology travels around Asia, borrowing and reinventing. The makara and the naga are both Hindu originally but like many items from Hindu mythology can be seen making guest appearances in Buddhist practices in other countries. It’s always a humbling experience standing at the steps of a temple looking up at the beasts. It is also a very empowering feeling standing at the top of a temple looking down on the twisting body of such a creature.
The temple in Kanchantaburi, Thailand at night.
I can’t stress enough how beautiful Kanchantaburi was. We were there during Songkran so I did not feel comfortable going to the temple service for a holy event I didn’t understand, so instead I waited outside and took photographs. It was amazing how many stars were out so far away from the cities. I often go out to the country or the state parks in Wisconsin. Yet up in the mountains I felt even more removed from the influences of the city. I was amazed how many stars I was able to pick up on film, the image is a bit grainy but still captures the stillness of the night.
Yes it’s another monkey picture. What can I say monkey’s make me happy, and in these hard economic times couldn’t we all use a little bit more monkey? This in another shoot from the temple ruins in Northern India. I gave it a little bit a aged treatment to really bring out that orange color of the bricks which will forever be the color of India to me after my visit.
The forest outside the temple in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, was one of the most majestic places I’ve ever been. Under the shade of the towering trees the suns rays seemed like little blessings from above. It was still very hot and humid there, but the heat seemed much more bearable in the peace of the mountain. I can understand why they decided to build a temple in this location, it is easy to feel closer to the heavens. If I return to Thailand this is the one area I truly want to see again.
One of my favorite souvenirs for Thailand is a bracelet with jade turtle beads strung together. Whenever I wear it I always get compliments on it. And of course, I can’t help but brag that I got it at a temple that had a sea turtle rescue, off the cost of Sri Racha, ChonBuri, Thailand. There are actually a lot of efforts going on in southern Thailand to help save the sea turtles, which warmed my heart among all the environmental woes in the industrializing country. Watching all the turtles was so fascinating, I could have spent hours running around their pools. It got even more exciting though… when I got to feed them! Even their food, aka squid, looked cool!
If you want to learn more about the Thai Sea Turtles you can check out this site: Warthai.org or EarthJustice.org
Buddha's in a SriChang temple.
These Buddha’s were lined up in a temple on the island of SriChang. In front of them were seven pots in which you were supposed to drop coins in for good luck. I was told the pots represented the days of the week. One person said you should drop the coins in the day of the week that you were born on. I don’t know which day of the week I was born on off the top of my head so I just followed the lead of the girls before me and went down the line dropping a coin in each pot.
As a side note I will be running a print series of this image, available at
A statue in front of a Buddhist Temple in ChonBuri.
We found this temple in ChonBuri behind the reception hall for wedding we attended. It’s interesting how the Buddhist population has so many statues of other gods. There are so many different variations that none of the Thai’s even seem to know who all of the gods are. I think it really shows the Hindu roots of Buddhism. It reminds me a bit of how Christianity just absorbed the traditions of regions they would conquer. The way religions spread and assimilate is a very fascinating subject in my opinion. The statue was beautifully lit though and the candles added to the majestic feel of it.
A flickering candle lit to honor the god whose statue is in front of the temple.