Yesterday was Mother’s Day; tomorrow is Buddha’s Birthday. From the fulcrum between the two, sending wishes for everyone’s happiness!
At the (hidden) central point where the three main ridges in this picture meet is our school. You’d hardly know it’s there; most folk don’t until they get out of their car and walk along the traditional retaining wall that outlines the temple’s courtyards through our front gate. If you climb any of these ridges, the temple’s obvious, of course: large, geometric, carving out a sand-and-slate-colored mandala from the otherwise verdant landscape. But our visibility is only from above. From the side, on approach, the temple gives off an air of reticence. Other than our courtyard’s wall, the familiar swooping double-curve of our tiled roofs reveal us; but slowly and quietly without fanfare.
The paddy in the foreground used to belong to the temple, until the nuns stopped cultivating rice and barely. Now the lands are rented out to area farmers. The mountain in the center of the picture is one part of the larger set of peaks and ridges known as “Crane Mountain.” From the interior of the mountains, looking at the peak from an opposite slope, it takes on the aspect of a crane about to lift its wings in flight.
In the left of the picture, two ridges reach down; they form the two arms of the bowl-shaped mountain known as “Reclining Tiger Mountain.” (You can see another view of that ridge here, looking directly between the outstretched arms.) The ridge on the right side of the picture leads up to General’s Rock, a prominent part of the landscape around here.
Between the tigers and the generals, the temple maintains its low profile. Even the color and buzz of Buddha’s Birthday hasn’t brought the temple out from the mountains. It remains, as it was intended to be, a place to be sought, discovered, and seen, and nothing more.