My name is Jasmine Bermudez, I’m Catholic, and I chose the Buddhist religion. I have always been curious in the sense of why and how they are so calm and full of peace, in how violence is not an answer. I did some research in which the monks do not talk to women, which I did not know before…because of that I had to bring a male with me.
We went to the Wat Buddharangsi of Miami and Theravada Buddhist Temple, it felt like it was in the middle of nowhere of plants, crops, just pure nature all around. The temple was white, red and gold; it was just beautiful, full of nature such as flowers, plants, grass, trees and birds. It was just peaceful and relaxing. Obviously, I was nervous because it was out of my comfort zone but excited to finally let my curiosity to run wild.
We went inside a prayer room to wait for the main monk to come out. Once he came out he said hello to the one accompanying me but just looked at me and well I felt left out. We after were moved to the big temple to then ask questions. The temple was all carpet and there was a special rug in front of the Buddha reserved especially for the monks. The monk did tell us take our shoes off and place them by the door. There was no air conditioning there, but all the doors were open and the breeze it was kept us cool, the inside of the temple was beautiful and relaxing, but unfortunately we were not allowed to be part of any rituals, I think because it was our first time going. The monk did tell us that we could not participate because we were not fully Buddhist. On the other hand, the monk did explain what happens during the rituals and also gave us a detailed history on Buddha, and how Buddhism came to be, which I found so interesting. He also did mention how normally the religious site visits would be with a big group of students or the professor him/herself.
I did find it so interesting, how the monks were dressed, it was called “the Saffron Robe” that was the color orange and was on one shoulder. During the conference with the monk, he was able to talk freely and openly, but when it came to answering questions he was very picky, some he will answer while others he would give me a riddle as the response. The good part was that while he was speaking and describing the different mediations, he did allow us to participate in it, to catch the feel of it, and to also be able to pay attention to the words he spoke. Unfortunately, I was not able to record, talk or take any pictures because electronics were not permitted in the temple because the temple is their sacred space of meditation, and I could not talk to them because I was a woman. The wonderful part about it was once we left, it started to rain and he called it a certain word that I forgot exactly but he said in other words a blessing. Overall, I did learn a lot from the monk, and it was a great experience. I will be going back to learn more and hopefully be able to participate.