Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back to the tour...

After our detour into inappropriate product labeling, let's get back to our one day tour of Beijing!

After the surreal viewing of Chairman Mao's body and several hours at the Capital Museum, we got back on the subway and headed up to the Confucius Temple.  Having worked with both Chinese and Korean populations, we were curious about this man and his powerful impact on these cultures.
As soon as we got off the subway, people were selling incense.  We realized that the subway exit was directly next to the Lama Temple (a major Buddhist temple) and that there was spirit money, incense and idols being sold all over the place.

Incense and spirit money to burn.

Several streets of stores selling stuff to offer at the temple.  The mix of commerce and religious belief/spirituality is a bad thing, in my opinion.

Monk taking a break.  These are usually "temporary" monks.  We see them in our city, also.

Knitters!  Most older Chinese women knit.  The most common thing that they knit are long johns.  Needles here tend to be very long and thin and are usually double pointed.

Paul and Confucius.  This is called the Confucius Temple but there's no real religious aspect to it.  

These had the names of the Confucian scholars on them.

Beautiful building-it was a very peaceful setting.

Great displays with good information on Confucius and his teachings on government and family.  It was in Chinese and English- I learned a lot!

Important people from that time.  

One more great diorama!

System of numbers.

Sacrificial altar.  Again, Confucius didn't really teach about God or gods, so I am not sure what they were sacrificing to.

Sadly at this point my camera battery died, so we didn't get pictures of the Scholars Academy.  It really was a beautiful and peaceful place and I am glad we went.  We did not go to the Lama Temple because of time and I was all that sorry to miss it.  We walked through some old hutongs (traditional neighborhoods) that are being   "gentrified."  There were still the public bathrooms as most hutong homes have no plumbing, but then the was a youth hostel, a Spanish tapas bar,  a coffee house where you could get  a "wineless connection" and other fairly trendy stuff.  I wasn't sure how to feel about that.

We took the subway back to Wang Fujin Street and went to the Foreign Language bookstore where we stocked up on some English books.  I don't mean instructional textbooks! I mean novels!  What a pleasure to have some books to read.

The next day we went to an international church in Beijing.  After the worship time (singing in English!!! with guitars!!!), the announcer said "I'd like to welcome Dr.  Briscoe back" and Stuart Briscoe stood up and preached!  I just about passed out.  We love Stuart and Jill Briscoe and all that they teach and stand for!  What a delight and special gift to have them there that Sunday.

We took a hard seat train back that night which gave us great chances to talk to our seat mates. It was a good, good weekend in Beijing!

1 comment:

India said...

The Confucius temple in Taipei is similarly lovely and peaceful. I would hang out there all the time if I lived closer. The contrast is especially striking because it's very close to another temple that is just overloaded with decorations and gods and everything.