Friday, June 25, 2010

One day, one city, four faiths.

While the official religious position in China is atheism,  religious belief and practice is alive and well here.  Christianity, Islam, Taoism  and Buddhism are practiced here.  So is the secular religion of worshipping success and materialism.
We have a strong desire to know and try to understand China and its people.  Our time at the Confucian Temple in Beijing was very enlightening (sorry, bad joke).  Today, we learned more as we rode our bikes around our city in 93 degree weather.  Our original goal was to go to house of Chang Xue Liang, who was the marshall in NE China that stood up against the Japanese.  But we took another path as our first stop was at what we thought was a Buddhist Temple.
Our city has four pagodas.  All are active  Buddhist worship sites.  The one we went to today is the Nanta or South Tower.  It is next to the temple where we looked around.

Door to the temple with Yin and Yang symbols.
The temple is located in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  It was very quiet and full of color and burning incense.

Woman offering incense and bowing.

We met this extremely lively Taoist nun.  She is 83 years old and has lived there for over 40 years.  She told us that this convent was Taoist and not Buddhist. She took us into a side room, gave us water, explained to us about Taoism and told us about the convent. There is also a monastery across town.  She gave us a copy of the sacred book of Taoism- the doctrine of the Mean. She was delightful.

Nan Ta next to the convent.

After that we rode up to our original historical destination.  We decided to save it for another day, and instead rode over to the oldest church in Shenyang - Dong Guan.

Dong Guan is an active church of over 5,000 attendees.  It was founded by Presbyterian missionary John Ross.

Again, we met a lovely woman there who showed us around.  The pastor (an elderly woman) was there and was sitting in the museum having her lunch.  She was quite elderly and has apparently passed on her responsibilities to her daughter.  We toured the church and the small bookstore and pretty gardens.  People were praying and working and it was generally quite lovely and peaceful.

Inside of one part of the church.  They were getting ready for a wedding.

Pretty gardens.

After this, we decided to go to the Liaoning Provincial Museum.  We had been there before but not finished all the rooms.  Plus it was free and air conditioned.  Also, it is next to a Hui (Muslim) neighborhood and we wanted to get some Hui bread.

First we stopped for lunch and then went to the museum.

When we finished at the museum, we went searching for a baker.  Instead, we found the mosque.

Beautiful entrance.  I love these round doors.

We stayed on the outside and looked in.

We probably rode our bikes 20 miles today in the 93 degree heat.  We came home exhausted but feeling like it was a day well spent.

1 comment:

mmichele said...

What a great and interesting and educational post! Thanks!