In the middle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of city life, lies a quaint little sanctuary. It’s like stepping into a Twilight Zone of Asian culture, more specifically, the culture of Buddhism. This sanctuary is known as the Wat Lao Buddharam. My wife discovered it by accident while in the area a couple years ago. When my oldest son expressed an interest in studying Buddhism, we made a couple of visits. This post has pictures from our last visit.
The prize of the site is the temple which is the first structure you see after entering the gates. The architecture is beautiful. Red and white with gold trim is the main color scheme. There are murals painted over the entrance and rear of the temple. I’m sure the murals tell a story. I will have to inquire about them on my next visit.
As luck would have it, there was some type of ceremony taking place during our visit. Because of this, we stayed around the temple area. It was a quiet, peaceful, jubilant atmosphere. I could hear chanting coming from the open door of the temple. Empty shoes lined the steps leading up to the porch of the temple where women knelt at the door watching and listening to the activities inside.
A few minutes after taking the shot above, the Monks came out of the temple. The women parted as the Monks and men in suits walked down the steps. We saw a familiar face in the crowd. The Monk on the far right of the next photo is Tom. We met Tom on our first visit to the Temple. He actually recognized us and gave us a wave. We had a long conversation the first time we met Tom. He talked about the Temple and upcoming celebrations that he invited us to attend. He also gave my oldest son a calendar that listed all the upcoming events. My son was on cloud 9 as that was the first Monk he had ever met.
I will end this post with a picture I took on this same roll on a different visit to the temple. It was a quick visit and I grabbed only one shot with my SLR. You can tell it was a different day as the sun was shinning nice and bright. With a little wind blowing, I captured the Buddhist Flag waving in the courtyard.
No matter what religion you follow, I believe everyone could stand to follow the philosophy of Buddha. It’s my understanding that Buddhism is more of a way of life than a religion. When you look at the core principles represented by the flag’s colors, it’s easy to see that the world would be a better place, and we would be a better servant to whom ever we call God if we heed the principles of Buddha. Below is some information about the flag taken from Urban Dharma.
The Buddhist flag, first hoisted in 1885 in Sri Lanka, is a symbol of faith
and peace used throughout the world to represent the Buddhist faith.
The six colours; Blue (nila), Yellow (pita), Red (lohita), White (odata),
Scarlet (manjestha), and the mixture of these six colours (prabaswara) of
the flag represent the colours of the aura that emanated from the body of
the Buddha when He attained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.
The Horizontal Stripes represent the races of the world living in harmony
and the Vertical Stripes represent eternal world peace. The colours
symbolize the perfection of Buddhahood and the Dharma.
The Blue light that radiated from the Buddha’s hair symbolizes the spirit of
Universal Compassion for all beings.
The Yellow light that radiated from the Buddha’s epidermis symbolizes the
Middle Way which avoids all extremes and brings balance and liberation.
The Red light that radiated from the Buddha’s flesh symbolizes the blessings
that the practice of the Buddha’s Teaching brings.
The White light that radiated from the Buddha’s bones and teeth symbolizes
the purity of the Buddha’s Teaching and the liberation it brings.
The Orange light that radiated from the Buddha’s palms, heels and lips
symbolizes the unshakable Wisdom of the Buddha’s Teaching.
The Combination Colour symbolizes the universality of the Truth of the Buddha’s Teaching.
(Burmese Buddhist replaced with Pink.)
Therefore, the overall flag represents that:
Regardless of race, nationality, division or colour, all sentient beings
possess the potential of Buddhahood.
The six colours are better interpreted as :
1. Blue: signifying the concept of loving kindness and peace in Buddhism
2. Yellow: signifying the Middle Path, that is, the complete absence of form
3. Red: signifying achievement, wisdom, virtue, fortune and dignity.
4. White: signifying purity, emancipation, that the Dharma will always exist
regardless of time or space.
5. Orange: The essence of Buddhism which is full of wisdom, strength and
6. The combination of these five colours symbolizes the one Truth.
The horizontal bars signify peace and harmony between all races through out
the world while the vertical bars represent eternal peace within the world.
In simple terms, the Buddhist Flag implies that there is no discrimination
of races, nationality, areas or skin colour; that every living being possess
the Buddha Nature and all have the potential to become a Buddha.
I have more pictures of the temple and grounds as well as some pictures of the statues on the site in my blog posted titled Cultured. The Cultured post is where we met Tom for the first time. I shot the temple and statues on Kodak Ektar 100 as well as a portrait of Tom. If you liked this post, you should check out the Cultured post. As always, thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for my next post with more images from this same roll of Portra 160.
Images Best Viewed in Lightbox Below!