For my site visit, I visited a Buddhist temple in Miami called Zen village. When I got out of the car the air was filled with the scent of many the many trees surrounding me. There were these grand, colorful gates at the entrance of the temple that opened to reveal beautiful gardens. The temple itself was painted in bright, bold colors and was garnished in beautiful sculptures. I felt as though I had been transported to another country. The garden was embellished with bronze busts and gorgeous artwork. The atmosphere filled me with a sense of tranquility; it almost felt like a spa. I was then greeted with the stares of many people in attendance. Most were kind and greeted me with welcome; others nodded their heads in mutual understanding of how strange it was to visit the new place. I believe I was not the only newcomer. To my surprise, there was a wide variety in the many different people in attendance of the service.
I am familiar with traditional Christian church services and I had no idea what to expect from the Buddhist temple ceremony. From what I was told, at many temple services you either have a teaching session or you meditate. I was being introduced to meditation while I was there. It was kind of odd, but apparently it takes practice to get comfortable with it. At first, I wasn’t really able to stop fidgeting, but I focused on the sound of the Buddhist master instructing us and even though I couldn’t completely cease my trains of thought, eventually I started to feel as though I was adrift in my own mind. It was a strange but satisfying feeling. I’m sure it is nowhere near the depth of what meditation can reach, but I could definitely feel that there was more to what the master was trying to convey and that I only touched the tip of the iceberg.
Overall, I had a pleasant experience and may incorporate some of the techniques I learned, to handle stress in my daily life.