East Meets West at Hsi Lai Temple ~ Humanistic Buddhism

buddhist temple15Changing things up a bit, Sunday felt to be a day for a different kind of inner connecting and so I found myself at the Hsi Lai Temple about 40 minutes from where I live. This is a beautiful Buddhist Temple sitting atop the hills of Hacienda Heights on 15 acres overlooking the San Gabriel Valley, tucked back from the rest of the world – both in, but not of the world in a way. It is founded by the Venerable Master Hsing Yun who established it on the foundations of Humanistic Buddhism.buddhist temple9

“Humanistic Buddhism is the teaching of the Buddha. It affirms that the Buddha was born in this human world, cultivated himself in this human world, was enlightened in this human world and taught human beings in this human world the way to experience Nirvana (freedom from suffering) in this human world and not apart from this human world. The Buddha taught that it is through our humanity that we will attain Buddhahood – full Enlightenment. As the Vimalakirtinirdesa Sutra says, ‘The Dharma is found amongst people.’ Hui Neng (638-713), the Sixth Patriarch of Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism said, ‘The Dharma is to be found in this world and not in another. To leave this human world to search for the Dharma is as futile as searching for a rabbit with horns.’ Humanistic Buddhism teaches that one can live fully in this human world and practice Buddhism at the same time. The two endeavors are not separate but support each other perfectly by enabling one to cultivate the wisdom that clearly understands the true nature of reality. Venerable T’ai Hsu once said, ‘When you become fully human, you will become a Buddha (who we are already). That is the living meaning of truth.’ Thus, Humanistic Buddhism encourages one to integrate the Buddha’s teachings of tolerance, loving-kindness, compassion, joyfulness, and equanimity into our lives for our benefit and for the benefit of all beings.” ~http://www.hsilai.org/ 

buddhist temple10I don’t practice any particular system of faith or worship, but I do respect and find a lot of the basic foundations of Buddhism, especially Humanistic Buddhism, to be in line with some of my own core values and beliefs, therefore it resonates to be in this energy. However, that can be said in terms of many systems of faith and religion, when you take a look at their core, aside from all the other “stuff”.

There are underlying, shared foundations you can find construed in the guise of a particular branch of devised thought that has perhaps formulated through ego motivations and as a result of our need to create ways to truly learn about ourselves through the disentanglement of these illusions.buddhist temple3

That said, I personally choose to follow only the guidance of my own heart and soul, embrace the things that resonate and leave the rest behind, create my own path and spirituality, live life as a walking meditation I work daily at embodying, and honor the varied differences in beliefs, realizing the illusion of that separation.

buddhist temple11Sunday I found myself in a different energetic space sort of neither here, nor there, and walking a path of the pure void. And in light of my recent dream, “White Conch and a Dream“, being called to visit the Temple, which I don’t believe I have since perhaps I was a child, felt aligned.

buddhist temple13The grounds are really lovely and a $7 donation will provide you an equally lovely all-you-can-eat veggie buffet served and created with love by the monks – great for vegans and vegetarians alike to enjoy a nourishing meditation.

tania hsi lai templeThere are a lot of classrooms, conservatories, gardens, beautiful architecture, a lovely Pagoda in the back, a lot of stone, carved, and golden statuary, small museums, and gift shop on the grounds.

buddhist temple2There are self-guided and guided tours, or you can simply let yourself be guided to explore the grounds, as I was.

buddhist templeThere were times I looked out over the vista with the temple rooftops against the sky and I was taken back to my time in Thailand for some reason, and felt for a moment not in the Los Angeles area, which was nice, as I’m feeling called to a very explorative space right now.buddhist temple6

The Main Shrine area, where I sat a bit in inquiry and openness to my inner guidance, has three large statues as the focal energy of the Shrine. They include Sakhyamuni Buddha in the center (the historical Buddha), Amitabha Buddha to the left (teacher of the Western Pure Land), and Medicine Buddha on the right (teacher of the Eastern Pure Land of Pure Crystal or Lapis Lazuli Radiance).

Hsi Lai Temple Main Shrine (2)

Photo of Hsi Lai Temple Main Shrine by theguibordcenter.org – you can’t take photos inside, so this is the only one that is not my photo

I was drawn to sit on the right, realizing after I sat there, that it was the Medicine/Healing Buddha I’d been called to. I found this interesting in light of the fact that my crystal workshop last Saturday had focused on sharing about the Healing Buddha and the connection with Lapis Lazuli, getting briefly into some esoteric information.

buddhist temple5Ultimately, they are reflections of ourselves and the Buddha/or enlightened Beingness within each of us. Hence, they are not to be glorified/deified, but to be reflections of your own radiance.

And one can explore aspects of their Divine self in sacred spaces like this, although any where you are can be sacred, since that is a state of being, in my opinion, found within.

In respect of the Temple grounds, make sure to honor the dress code if you decide to visit, which you can find at the link below about information on Hsi Lai Temple.

tania hsi lai buddhist templeThis I did, and although I am a bit of a chameleon by nature, it is interesting to see myself in these photos. My dear “sister” Laura Bruno was giggling when I first shared them with her via text (to show her the skirt she gifted me that came in handy this day), commenting on how prim and proper, as well as innocent I looked without all my tattoos showing – yes, I clean up well I guess, whatever that means.

We shared a laugh however, when I mentioned how I of course had my own little way to embody both the light and shadow integrated that day. I simply must stay true to who I am and what I hold sacred. I think Buddha just might have been smiling at my embodiment of his true teachings. 🙂 I actually received a little humorous nudge of acknowledgment on this. buddhist temple4

If you’re in the area and would like to visit the Temple, here is a link to information you’ll find helpful, which includes special events and class schedules:

Hsi Lai Templebuddhist temple14


About Tania Marie's Blog

Creating life as a work of art with a magick rabbit by my side. I remember my song. Do you? Artist, Author and Reiki Master Teacher with over 25 years' experience in creative healing arts and metaphysical studies. Tania inspires people globally to return to natural harmony, draw forth imagination to manifest dreams, embody creative empowerment, and live more magickally and abundantly from their most natural frequency – in essence, Tania helps you to remember your song.

Posted on October 21, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Christine Bohner

    May have to think about a visit to see this beautiful place. :–D

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