“Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there,
and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others
to act according to his own view of truth.” Mahatma Gandhi
I do not remember the number of times I've mentioned my love for temples; ten times, twenty, or maybe one hundred? It's easy to walk to a temple close to home, or visit one nearby, and after visiting temples in both South Korea and Japan, I can never get templed out. Buddhism has always been an influence in my life, (but, when I was younger I followed the religion of Christianity until I found my way to Buddhism in high school) and on Buddha's birthday every year my Father would take us to the local temple where we would buy a lotus lantern lamp, and walk through the streets at night. I vaguely remember these experiences because I was so young, but the few pieces I do remember are lovely and calming. Imagine the scene of a wave of people holding lanterns through the night of different colors, and walking all in peace for a common purpose.
One of my favorite places we visited during our tour of Hong Kong was Wong Tai Sin Temple. Nestled between urban skyscrapers, surrounded by the haze of incense and the sound of chanting, Wong Tai Sin Temple greeted our tour group with it's vivid colors. I was instantly taken away by how different the designs of the temples are compared to the temples here in Korea - Korean temples tend to favor more lighter and cooler shades shades.
There wasn't only the sounds and bodies of tourists and curious eyes, but also the locals who came to pray and take part in their beliefs. We didn't spend a long time at Wong Tai Sin Temple, but it was enough to see mostly everything.
It actually become somewhat of a maze of stairs, gardens, and fountains. You forget that you're walking through the ground of a temple surrounded by tour buses and skyscrapers; the views of fishes and turtles in ponds and calming feeling of the garden helps you momentarily escape and find a few minutes of peace.
In a few minutes of peace, I was finally able to let the fact that I was in Hong Kong wash over me. I thought about everything I am thankful for like my family, friends, the opportunity to travel, being able to follow my dreams and dance to my own beats. I've come a long way with the help of those around me and the simple act of growing up. These last few months I've become an advocate for the motto "Let it be". Trying to control everything in life drains so much time and energy, and sometimes you just have to accept the fact that people don't want to change for the good and that you can't fix every situation, past or present. It's natural, that the good in you wants to help others in times of crisis. It's the good in you that thinks maybe your friend will curb their dangerous life style choices and addictions, but you can't force people to do what they don't want to do. But, at least you can support them and wish for their healing. It's the believer in you that stays strong for a family member as cancer takes hold of their body, and the believer in you hopes they will make it through as their mind has not been taken ahold and is strong as gold.
These are the thoughts that clouded my mind while walking through Wong Tai Sin Temple. I can't change or control what is around me, but at least I have the power to guide my life in the direction I want, and so do you.