The temple bell rings. The ring and the reverberation are separate. Jesus is looming over my back shoulder. Buddha stares me down. We’ve become accustomed to rising when the bell rings, the silence enters fast. We used to have someone special light the altar candles, someone who needed blessing or wanted to dedicate the practice, however this traditions seems to have faded lately as we’ve grown together as a spiritual community. We no longer seem attached to separateness like that.

The monks walk to their husk filled cushions. One lights the altar candle and then we all bow. Bhante invites us to be seated but some of us wait. Their is a reverence to letting them sit first, a code most of us don’t follow. I have and have not, depending. Mostly I think my ego keeps me standing now, not reverence, so I’m trying to let it go. Intention is what matters most and now I see mine’s been faulty.

A light shines on the Buddha’s face. Time of year dictates how lit Jesus is, the stain glass windows have a way of revealing varying beauty at certain times of day. I once counted 17 shades of blue. I’ve sat here more than 150 times the first year we opened and I know for sure, the heated bamboo floors never work. When I look around I see the transformation, of the place and in all of us. The neutral color and plainness of everything seems dedicated to the majesty of the stain glass windows and the alter and the silence. I love this jarring combination as it feels so similar to the jarring contrast of my old life and this life, before practice and after.

Where do you meditate?

Come check out the Blue Lotus Temple sometime if your ever in Chicagoland.  

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