In the lunar calendar in China, on every new moon and full moon days of each month, people used to go to the local temple to offer the flower and fruit to Buddha. And during these two days, Buddhists would practice abstinence from meat as a religious exercise, and also, Buddhists would go to temple to say prayers. Burning incense is another way to represent the respect to the Buddha. But nowadays, considering of the environment and for people’s health, a lot of temple are not allowed to burn the incense. The real meaning of burning incense is to express the respect for Buddha, to be thankful and grateful, with a pious, grateful heart, the Buddha would feel it, and bless all of the world. So, I went to the Yuantong Temple on July 18th, which in the lunar calendar is consider as June 15th, to worship the Bodahisattva, and make the wishes for my families. At the entrance of the Yuantong Temple, I was suggested to take the red candle and three incenses. By the way, the Yuantong Temple is not allowed the outside candle or incenses are brought into the temple. People burn the candle on a shelf, which is full of red candles, and we burn and set our red candle by other candles on the shelf. Later, we can enter the different palaces to make wishes and worship the Bodahisattva or Buddha. There is a free life pond in the temple, and a lot of people bring their goldfish or turtle to the pool, and release them in the pool. There are a lot of different kind of the goldfish in the pool, and some of them are really large, so they might stay in the pool for a long time.
I think this ritual could be considered as a kind of rite of passage. The ritual is not only open for the worshipper, others who would like to worship Buddha are also very welcome to the temples. When someone was stressful, or have some confused need to be solved and enlightened, they can always go to the temple, worship the Buddha, and ask a moment of peace. Also, there are a lot of worshipper meet together, and they became friends in their life. In Buddha’s way, meet is fate, when the worshipper meet, they cherish the meet, and they could easily to be friends, and support each other in their life.
People usually go to visit the Buddha when they have wishes or they need to confess. But some people might consider that if the bad person also go to worship the Buddha, make the wishes. Actually, in Buddha’s way, everyone is the same, no matter what he/she did before, they deserve a chance to make some change. If we could understand others, including their happy or upset feelings, we can naturally open our minds to be accommodating, understanding, content, and grateful. It is a positive cycle, which people would choose to do more good deed.