Thursday, February 22, 2007

Blending the Salty's and the Southern Light

When we were back in Malaysia, we had always made it a point to visit the local Buddhist temple on the very first day of the Chinese New Year (CNY) with a view to expressing our thanks for blessings received in the past year and to seeking continuing guidance in the coming year. However, since we moved to Tampa three years ago, we have not been upholding this tradition, until this year, and that also at the other seaboard of US.

On the day after our D's wedding, which fell on the first day of CNY, we feted our in-laws and their family members and friends to a seafood buffet lunch at the Salty’s located along the bank of the mighty Columbia River. Unfortunately, our co-hosts, my wife’s brother and his wife, both domiciled in Portland, could not attend due to unforeseen circumstances.

It was during this occasion that Mike, Dan’s step-dad, seen here offering a toast to the newly wed, informed us of a Buddhist temple nearby when told of our tradition. And Dan knows the location well. So that was where we headed after the sumptuous meal.

It turned out to be a Vietnamese Buddhist temple, smaller than the one we have visited in Clearwater. Right at the entrance gate, we were greeted by a white Buddha statue. In the compound, there are clusters of statues depicting the important phases of the life of Buddha, in much the same way as those put up by its Clearwater counterpart, but more compact as can be readily seen by comparing the pictures here (from top left going clockwise) and here. But both are excellent 3-D renditions of the Buddha's epic journey to enlightenment.

As usual, my wife was the one uttering verses from the sutras, praying, and prostrating before the Buddha for all of us, while we watched in full reverence, pious in heart and thankful for the occasion.

On the way home, my wife suggested visiting the Chinese Garden located in the Portland downtown, but that will be the subject for another occasion.

Oh yes, the Vietnamese Buddhist temple has a Chinese name that translates into the Southern Light Temple. Hence the title of the blog.

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