Looking at the Brooklyn Bridge or Fraunces Tavern, it’s easy to forget just how young America is compared to the rest of the world. Yet, places like Jonyesa were already half a millennia old (the current iteration of the buildings may be newer) when the Brooklyn Bridge was new. It’s an ancient, but still functioning temple surrounded by high rises in the middle of a cramped and modern city.
Like many Buddhist temples, there’s a large gate, though here, a third is blocked by a concrete building.
Walking over to the main temple, there are two trees believed to be four to five hundred years old.
Apparently, it’s custom to venerate them.
The main temple itself is a thing of beauty. The colorful roofing and the painted panels showing the scenes from Buddha’s life enclose three gargantuan statues of Buddha and thousands of smaller statues. We’re not Buddhists, Cookie, and, since this is someone else’s place of worship, Mommy and I stayed outside. Halmoni*, a devout (never misses mass on Sunday, and occasionally goes every day) Catholic, still feels the need (her grandparents were Buddhists) to bow in front of the statues whenever she visits a temple. You, of course, went with in her.
As Mommy and I walked around the outside looking at the exquisite decoration, three things became readily apparent. One, each temple has a gong by the door, which sounds the beginning and end of meditation times. Two, gongs are very tempting to three-year olds. Three, Halmoni isn’t as fast as she used to be.
Fortunately, many of the people inside apparently had found inner peace, and the loud gong (and your even louder giggling) was merely met by smiles as we bundled you back outside.
The bell tower, properly roped off from inquisitive three-year olds.