Inside the city of Beijing by far the most interesting experience I had was my visit to the Lama Temple. Now, don’t be an idiot like me and think that lama refers to the animal. In my mind I was picturing a nice Buddhist temple with herds of lama grazing about. No, lama is actually a term for a teacher of Buddhism. I actually had a discussion with the concierge at our hotel asking if we could pet the lamas and she must have thought I had lost my mind.
Anyways, we happened to be visiting the temple during their Incense Ceremony where they gave boxes of free incense (you have to pay an entrance fee into the temple which is pretty standard) to all the visitors. Scattered throughout the temple were various sand containers to light the incense. It was amazing…the pictures couldn’t quite capture what it was like to walk around while the air surrounding you was filled with fragrant smoke.
It was amazing, even though the temple itself was busy with visitors the smoke from the incense must have made everyone calm. The atmosphere was serene and calming. At this point I’ve been to quite a few Buddhist temples and even done two temple stays but even so the Incense Ceremony was very special.