why you should visit a buddhist temple at least once in your life

A year ago marked my fifth year living in London, and it was killing me. The mundanity of life in the city with its endless stream of grey people with grey lives always rushing to be somewhere, was really getting to me. Considering I'm from Wales (think beaches, cute lil communities, mountain views, lots and lots of cake), the big sights of London really started to grate after a while. And so, I decided to set out to explore the more hidden parts of the city, that would be devoid of both tourists and mundane businessmen with little black briefcases. This is when I found the Buddhapadipa temple.


I've never been a particularly religious person, but have always been interested in it. I've spent time in synagogues, Hindu temples, churches, and even mosques, but none of them posed religions that I was ready to devote my life to. However, when I was craving something new a year ago, I found out that there was actually a Buddhist temple maybe an hour away from where I lived. I thought the religion was interesting, the culture was interesting, and thus, I soon visited Buddhapadipa with a friend, and completely fell in love with it. I've gone every couple weeks since. And so, this is why I think everyone should experience life at a Buddhist temple at least once.


An opportunity to think about things
In busy everyday life, it's rare that we ever have a chance to truly think about things in our lives, as most of the time we keep ourselves occupied. And so, having the chance to really be mindful in such a serene environment has got to be healthy, as we all need time to process emotions and thoughts, but don't have enough time to do so. With things like meditation, you're able to sit with a monk or two and several other Buddhists and try to reach a state of mental clarity, which involves acknowledging thoughts, letting them pass, and move on. For example, I recently went through a pretty damn horrendous breakup, and by meditating in this incredible little temple, I was able to acknowledge the pain as it came, and try to heal from that. It's not a cure, but it's the first step to being able to process thoughts and ideas in a healthy manner.


To understand and experience another religion and culture 
I think that it's so important to learn about the lives of those around us, and so this is probably the most crucial thing I think you can get out of visiting a Buddhist temple. It's a great experience to be able to peek into an entirely new religion and the cultures that are so often associated with it, be it to take something away from that experience or to just have the option to educate yourself on a topic you may otherwise not have the chance to. You're able to ask the monks questions about the religion and learn directly from the people who are most involved with it - one example is when I sat down with one and we had a great discussion about why monks wear orange robes (a very important question to me a year ago).

A sense of community 
In big cities, it's hard to find a small community that you get to share experiences with regularly, and so whenever I get the chance to go to my local temple, it's a great feeling to be able to sit at the table in the monks' house and chat with everyone. I know that organised religion tends to bring people together, but with Buddhism its all a little less concrete, and so you can relate with everyone, whilst having the religion still lack a sense of utilitarianism. I went only a couple days ago with another friend, and she was so impressed with how everyone knew each other and was so interested to hear in the updates of each others lives - in a lot of places, you won't get that. It also offers a sense of structure and organisation, and when people go through hectic lives with things happening all over the place, this could turn out to be quite a reassuring thing.



They are insanely beautiful 
Whilst a lot of other religious buildings can also be stunning (namely the impressive marble crafted ceilings of many Hindu temples), I find that every Buddhist temple I've been to has been literally insane. Think hand painted murals inside, very Thai-esque exteriors, and gorgeous gardens, they have all been stunning. Especially as for me, finding something so completely immersive in beauty such as this, especially just off of a bustling main city, was a crazy concept. It's great to be able to wander through the grounds with the ponds and little bamboo filters and tiny Buddha figures, and then go inside this massive temple with brightly coloured paintings depicting different Pāli scenes.

A chance to unwind
Like I say, my favourite temple is just out of the centre of London, and so you go from this crazy busy city life to a very calm, peaceful atmosphere. After work or other daily stresses, I think it's important to have a chance to calm down and re-centre yourself before you continue, and so Buddhist temples are perfect for this. My favourite thing is being able to sit in the gardens in the sun as incense is burnt and teas are handed out, and then going inside the temple in order to meditate with the monks.

Everyone is amazing
This is a pretty broad statement, but from my personal experience, every single person I have met at a Buddhist temple has been so lovely, and so genuinely interested in the lives of others. Everyone is happy to be able to spend time with each other, and it's such a beautiful thing to experience. It's so easy to turn up to my local temple and immediately feel at home, regardless of whether it's your first time or you five-hundredth time. I've never met more welcoming people.


Free food
I'm sure there was a much better way of wording this point, but it's a massive plus of Buddhist temples - they have an abundance of free food and drinks. Because Buddhism is a religion where everyone tries to give as much as they can, it becomes evident in the places that people will congregate. And so, every time I turn up at my local temple I'm able to sit with everyone and drink some green tea (or coffee, or hot coco), and eat some of the wonderful food that is prepared. Of course, it's always a good idea to give something back to the monks that run the establishment, but for the most part, they won't expect anything in return. Again, that is such a contrast from London life, to be able to walk into a place and be handed many free things, and that generosity is a major thing that I adore about Buddhist temples.

Many festivals 
This draws into the whole sense of a community idea, but within Buddhism there are a lot of celebrations, which means that everyone can go to the temple and celebrate festivals and other festivities together. I have been to several of these, and whilst I'm one of the only white people (most people are Thai and come with a group of family), everyone is so accommodating that I feel as if I'd been raised with the same people in the same culture. There's singing and food and so much conversation that it's really hard not to fall in love with the place. I've even been featured on some weird Thai TV show because of a film crew that turned up to one of the events. It's honestly super great.


The first time I went to my local temple, I was amazed by how generous and lovely the people were, and how breathtaking the temple was. For someone who always craves adventure, this has also turned out to be a sure way to temporarily cure fernweh, and it stops me hating the fact I'm not our exploring another country when I'm unable to. With Buddhism, it's all about finding the middle of two opposites, such as good and bad, confidence and uncertainty, with the ultimate goal being happiness. When you're completely happy and content you won't desire anything extra. As one of my Buddhist teachers said, we should "all focus on the present, as you're never in the past nor future. Love, forgive, be mindful". Whilst I don't think I'll ever find myself fully converted by a religion, I can't think of any better place to be given such advice.

Let me know what you guys think!

47 comments:

  1. So gorgeous! Can't believe this is in the UK, it looks like it should be in Bali. What a stunning find xx

    http://www.thatnewdress.com/

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  2. Very inspirational post, and for sure made me think on this more, hope i will get the chance to visit buddhist temple in the futrue xo



    https://theninebyivana.blogspot.com/

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  3. Great views: D
    Very nice photos :)

    grlfashion.blogspot.com

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  4. These photographs show the temple in such a stunning way hun! Thanks so much for sharing :)

    XO Jessi,
    http://www.mywhitet.com/redcarpet-cannes-film-festival-2017/

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  5. Such a cool place!
    http://freshisyummy.blogspot.com/2017/05/what-you-do.html

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  6. This is such a really great post!


    Bloglovin
    STYLEFORMANKIND.COM

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  7. What an insightful post!

    I've never looked much into Buddhism, so I've learnt a lot from your post.

    The colours look marvelous. It looks so serene and inviting. Also, I found the point about 'free food' very interesting!

    Steph
    www.socialspying.com

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  8. I love festivals. Thanks for this great article.
    www.effortlesslady.co

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  9. Hi there my dear,

    very inspiring words. I love travelling, but I have never visited a buddhist temple before...I should do it in the future;)
    Hugs from Germany
    Isa
    www.label-love.eu

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  10. Great post & the temples are beautiful, sweetie! xoxo

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  11. Which part is this located at?? Looks amazing!
    I got you on that never been particulary religious, I'm the same. I've visited few tamples with my friends in China, and I agree it's one of a kind experience!

    xx, thx for sharing this amazing place

    d'star

    *d'star*

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  12. Nice place!
    xx
    http://losaway.blogspot.com.es

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  13. It looks amazing. I've never been to a place like this. Maybe I'll have such opportunity in the future. I'd like to ;)

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  14. Ahh wow this looks so beautiful!

    Alya / moorizzla xx

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  15. You get to travel to so many beautiful places! Lucky you :) This temple is amazing you wouldn't guess that you're in London. Hugs from Zurich

    xx Simone
    Little Glittery Box
    Instagram: littleglitterybox

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  16. Love your pictures! Reminds me of my trip to Bangkok <3

    Love it!

    Carmelatte

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  17. TBH, I am surprised there is something like this in London. How wonderful! I was just asking my husband awhile back if he's ever seen a Buddhist temple here in Toronto. He said they do exist but just don't know where. Even as a Catholic, I've always wanted to visit one because of, as you said, the serenity of the place.:) Great post!

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  18. AMY! I am so happy to be reading your blog again! I've missed hearing about all of your adventures!!
    Anyway, I totally agree with you about experiencing religion and learning about other religions and cultures. I recently took a world religions class and it was so interesting to see how culture and religion intersect. I now understand so much more about different people and religions and I feel like it's opened my mind up a lot.
    And wow, is that temple beautiful.... I love how colorful everything is!
    - July, https://julyaemmance.blogspot.com

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  19. Wow, I thought you were in Thailand at first, then turned out it's in UK, such an amazing place, love the vibe :)

    xoxo,

    |CHELSHEAFLO BLOG|
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  20. wow this is such an amazing and magical place.
    Lovely :D

    with love your Amely Rose

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  21. that place is absolutely nice, I wanna go!!
    kss
    =)
    New post in my Lifestyle Blog

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  22. I have been to a few Tibetan Buddhist Temples which is always interesting. I'm not Buddhist, but I do love learning about other traditions and practices. Also, calm space, no matter where you live, is always lovely. Thanks for the meditative post :)
    Shanti @Virtually Read

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  23. I agree the interiors and painting are beyond beautiful in these temples. I think I'm most mesmerised by this alone when it comes to temples. I definitely feel like they are the prettiest out of all the religions.

    Sxx
    www.daringcoco.com

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  24. Fantastic pics. This place looks amazing. But it looks like a place in Asia and not in the Uk. Great to heat that this temple is in the UK.
    X
    Marcel
    http://www.marsilicious.com

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  25. Stunning post dear!


    BEAUTYEDITER.COM

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  26. I've actually visited one before it was for a colleagues wedding but it was a little weird for me. Buh oh well at least i did try.

    Have a lovely week!

    https://anaturellecraving.blogspot.my/2017/05/how-i-clean-my-handbags-diy-hacks.html

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  27. this Temple is super fab
    new outfit on my blog Dior Diorama sunglasses
    have an happy day, kisses

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  28. Wow! How cool's that, I wanna go there too!

    x
    Fabienne Sophie

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  29. LOVELY post BABE!

    MOLLY
    HTTP://MOLLYX.COM.AU/

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  30. This is something I would really enjoy. The Buddhist religion resonates with me since its core practices are something we can all benefit from. I am not a city gal either. Too stressful (unless you are enlightened)! :-)

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  31. What an awesome post! Would love to visit one too! =)

    - Cielo
    Mermaid in Heels

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  32. interesting post
    http://retromaggie.blogspot.pt/

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  33. Wow, the temple is gorgeous! I can't even imagine all the time and effort and talent that went into painting those murals. The art that comes from different religions really is amazing and incredibly hard to fathom sometimes. I'm glad you've found a little spot of peace in your grey life (although I am incredibly jealous of you for living in London :P). I personally think I'd feel pretty out of place just walking into a Buddhist temple buuut that probably comes from my strong Christian background. I'd love to visit one, though!

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  34. ¡¡Hola Amy!! Yo tampoco soy una persona muy religiosa, pero también me gusta contemplar los templos, sea de la religión que sea.
    Nadie diría que estás cerca de Londres, ese templo parece sin duda, de un lugar exótico.
    Mi profesor de religión de cuando iba al instituto, era un cura católico, pero admiraba mucho la religión budista y siempre nos habló bien de ella. Besitos.

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  35. We always visit our local Buddhist temple every Chinese New Year to start the new year off right. I can definitely appreciate everything you had to say about them here. The philosophy behind Buddhism is very wise and practical at the same time.

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  36. wow the Location is so magical,
    amazing photos. Thank you for sharing.

    with love your AMELY ROSE

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  37. lovely :)

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  38. Great pictures! Wish I would be there right now

    www.sophiaston.de

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  39. beautiful photos. I'm glad you found this place and you enjoy visiting it.

    Nina's Style Blog

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  40. This is in London? Seriously?! It looks as though you're in a totally different country miles and miles away! Couldn't agree with you more about the walls/buildings and design being beautiful - so much colour, wow.

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

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