Cleo Stratton: The Buddhist Temple in Guangzhou
We started of our leadership project in the evening of the Canton fair day when sally handed over her leadership to us. Ian and I had both come up with two ideas of what we could do as a group in our free time; we both had to pitch the ideas to the group in the evening. The group had to then decide what activity that they would rather partake out of the four proposed ideas.
Ian’s two ideas were the Buddha temple and the museum and my ideas were the canton tower and the tomb museum. The Buddha temple won with 13 votes from the group.
The next morning we all had to meet in the downstairs lobby to be ready for our group activity at 9am. Ian and I decided to do and activity that would make the group think about what they had learnt from the trip so far. We ask everyone to stand in a circle and then individually deliver what they had thought that they had personally learnt or gained from the trip so far. I felt that this activity enabled us to think deeply about what we had actually learnt from another culture in such a short space of time.
After the groups daily activity we set out on our adventure for the day, with Ian and I guiding the group (with some help from Yvonne of course). The trek to the temple involved a lot of walking and also the dreaded use of the Guangzhou subway. once in the town center we were able to see a variety of the everyday happenings; from the selling of tigers feet, the tastings of sugar cane water, the glimpse to the ancient city through glass panel in the middle of the town center to the western inspired shopping malls, we were really able to grasp the realities of city life in China.
As soon as we entered the temple from the street the feelings of immediate relief mixed with wonder filled us all. The magnificence of the temple stuck out against the back drop of a bright blue sky; a few clouds dotted around its steeple looked as though they had been pierced and were blasting rays of sunshine from behind the clouds. From the business of the megacity the temple offered a solace to most of us in need of some peace and quiet.
The Buddha statues were beautiful and offered a sense of peace to anyone who would lay eyes upon them. We were able to light incense and pray. I was told to pray how I would for any god. It was strange to me how open the Buddhist religion is to accepting other views. I drifted away from the group as I felt like it was time that I could take to regain my thoughts and make peace with myself. We stayed at the temple for around an hour; Ian and I also took a few photos with the group mascot (the moose who does not yet have a name) around the temples grounds.
Overall our outing to the temple and our leadership day proved extremely successful. The temple was a great choice as it allowed us to escape the intense ‘hustle and bustle’ that had constantly been surrounding us since our entry to China.
Cleo is a third year Bachelor of Tourism Management student. This is Cleo's first time in China.