So yesterday my mom’s friend took us to the Joye Homestay, but first we went on an impromptu visit to the Chao Sheng Si Temple. Mom said that when she had been here years ago, it was only a temporary makeshift building. Now look at it!
We arrived around lunch hour, so most everyone was outside in tents serving and being served food. We made our way inside the temple buildings and it was mostly empty. Large wood sculptures proved fitting for Sanyi’s famous wood carvings. The stone detail work was amazing too, both inside and outside the temple.
Outside, a fire pit was burning, and volunteers were preparing meals inside the tents. I saw monks ride a motorcycles across the grounds. There were some vendors selling prayer beads, lotus beadwork, and tree oils to ward off bugs. Elders had their hands clasped in prayer, circling the statuary of Bodhisattvas and saintly figures and there was a woman kneeling on the steps and throwing two coins on the ground: If her prayers are approved, the coins will have one head and one tail. If the coins match, the prayers are rejected.
It is tomb sweeping season, so it is a time for ritual offerings and festivals. There is something really lovely about a community immersed in faith like this, building something massive and glorious together with all that donation money. Such things may draw some reasonable questioning, but artisans do need patrons to commission larger works of beauty. The art of architecture, wood, and stone were all absolutely gorgeous to behold and I am glad of it.
**And here is a photo of me! (le gasp)
And a bonus of me being a dork.