I recently visited the International Buddhist Temple in Richmond,BC. I walked about the place and watched people come and go offering incense and bowing before statues. Offerings of fruit, oil, etc. were seen around the complex and before the different statues. I watched as the monks and nuns performed a ceremony showing respect to Buddha. I talked with a guide who said they do this three times a day. The monks wore robes and had shaven heads and walked around the statue chanting. There were kneeling benches where they bowed several times. There was a guide directing those who apparently wanted to participate and did not know the routine. It surprised me that those observing did their own thing as they watched or not. There were workers making repairs to the Buddha while the ceremony was taking place as well as visitors opening and closing the door. There was a bell dinging during most of the ceremony. The worshipers did not seem to notice what was going on around them.
I learned what it feels like to look in on a spiritual service without being connected to what was going on. I'm sure there have been others visit our churches and wonder what we were really about and if we were really connected to what we were doing.
I learned what it feels like to be the foreigner. (There were almost no English speaking people around except those I brought with me).
I had an intense desire to communicate and to know what they were doing even though I did not feel I had to accept it.
I learned what it feels like to show respect to others I do not understand on any level.
There must be a lot of people who do not know what is expected because there were several signs - Do not take the fruit (it did resemble a continental breakfast buffet), do not offer meat or wine, no smoking, quiet please, etc.
If you want to study Buddhist philosophy they have classes on Saturday mornings.
You can pay life time dues, yearly dues, in memorial, and honoring others. You can pay for other blessings as well.
There was a farm on the compound although we were not allowed to visit it. I wonder what they do with insects that eat their crops.
There appeared to be dorms and there were meeting halls around the main building.
There was a cafeteria which served tea and vegetarian meals.
I am glad I went. It was one of those unusual life experiences that I'm glad I had.
The life and times of the Redding family.