Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Vancouver's "rich" suburb

Vancouver does stand up to its reputation of being diverse, culturally rich and traditionally varied, and one of its lesser known testimonials to that effect is the brilliant Buddhist temple neatly tucked in along  Stevenson Highway. Nestled in Richmond's opulent suburb, this tranquil retreat is as eye-captivating, as it is serene and peaceful.

The temple architecture makes it stand out amongst its surburbial surroundings. The classic pagoda shape and style dramatized with carvings of saints and floral patterns portray Chinese influence. The property itself is carefully planned to include all elements in a well balanced and natural setting. The wispy aromatic burning of incense sticks and offerings of fruit and flowers mark the various smaller temples along the pathway that leads to the main deity.

Out here, you do not experience the crowds, or the humdrum of every day metropolitan life, instead you are treated to a sense of calm where you cannot help but reflect. With under-the-breathe echoing chants, the quite unspoken words of the nuns, and the constant turn of prayer wheels, you are bound to find your steps becoming more deliberate and with purpose. The magnificent statues, stunning wall decor and  labored gardens are enough to awaken your inner spirits and draw you towards a lesser known world, one filled with peace, truth and harmony.

Geometrically designed flower beds, painted curbside, warrior lion statues marking the entrance gates and 24 karat pure gold plated idols and statues are just some of the reasons to enjoy this hidden gem. The lotus ponds, classic fountains and colorful pagodas might be some others. But what you take back from here are thoughts, feelings and experiences that are transforming in nature. They are the kind that leave an everlasting impression in your heart and soul. In today's ever-changing  world, where pace dictates life, this, is a sanctuary where time stands still, and where you can pause to take a breather and get a fresh and invigorating perspective to life itself.

TIP: It could be easily missed - this tiny gift shop located on the 3rd floor of the temple, where you can buy, not just artifacts, but learn more about the temple, the community and how it all began in Canada- Vancouver. Visiting this temple is definitely one of my-picks!

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