I decided to go to a Buddhist temple in Miami. I would drive by it every now and then and I was fascinated by how beautiful the architecture and structure is, which was one of the reasons I decided to go to that one in particular. I arrived there about fifteen minutes prior to when I was suppose to. To my surprise it was fairly diverse. It was a mix of older crowds and middle aged people and some young people, and there were a lot of Americans there. My brother came with me so I wasn’t alone thankfully. When we got there, the first thing we did was take off our shoes by the entrance in front of the temple. The monks were very welcoming and polite. It was very easy for us to enter, we just walked right up and there was no hassle or no questions. I was a little nervous because I didn’t want to be the awkward one or do anything to disrespect them in any way. I wasn’t really sure on what to expect. But when they greeted me and seemed happy to see me I eased up a little bit. But overall I was still nervous, excited and curious at the same time.
There were some chairs in the back for people to sit on in case they didn’t want to be on the floor sitting with their legs crossed. I wanted the full experience so my brother and I sat on the floor. Their rituals consist of a lot of singing. They were singing for a very long time it seemed like. It was in another language so I wasn’t able to join along. The singing was very peaceful, so it made me feel relaxed even though I didn’t understand the language. I didn’t feel excluded that I couldn’t sing, just wished that I could’ve at least understood what they were singing about especially since it was a long time.
I wore what I would normally wear to my church, which was some slacks, flats, and a nice blouse. I saw many Asians which was expected but I saw a good amount of Caucasians there and a few Hispanics as well. I did see a little bit of people around my age group as well. I didn’t expect it to be such a mixed crowd. Even thought my brother and I were the only black people there, I didn’t really feel like the odd ball or anything. Afterwards they asked me if it was my first time and how I liked it and offered me some water. Their hospitality was great and I definitely felt welcomed. What I loved most about this visit is how peaceful it was. There was one point in time where there was just complete silence and all you can here is nature outside the doors. The meditation was very relaxing and soothing. We’re in a busy city so it’s rare that you find the time to just appreciate silence so that moment was very enjoyable for me. I also loved how everybody seemed so at peace during and afterwards the singing and meditation. Overall it was a pleasurable experience. The Statue was extremely beautiful and the murals on the wall were as well. I like trying new things so this was fun for me.