Getting to the Huang He Road market (黄河路服装市 huange he lu fuzhang shi) was more than half the fun. We took a taxi and rode for nearly an hour. Once we got to the market we saw tones of clothing stores and on the second floor we found jewelers, clothing makers, bedding makers, and shoes…lots and lots of shoes. On the way to the market we saw a Subway and that was where we went for lunch.
Then we got directions on how to go to Fo Guang Buddhist Temple (佛光寺foguang si). We got off the bus and headed in to the park but couldn’t find the temple. After stopping several Chinese people who were there we lucked upon a couple that graciously put us in their car and drove us to the temple (not far, just up the road from where the bus stop is).
The adventure started on the bus as one of the riders motioned that we had arrived at our stop and should get off. Neither me or Nena mentioned where we were getting off, we didn’t even know who he was but thankfully he pointed out that we had arrived at Shiyuan Bridge (柿园大桥shiyuan daqiao) stop or who knows where we would have gotten to.
Once we got to the temple we had an awesome experience. This temple is a working temple as well as a tourist area and I was able to get a prayer bead bracelet. I’ve been looking for one since Coco gave me a prayer bead necklace from the Shaolin Temple. We wandered around the temple looking at all we could access when we meet a Chinese woman who spoke in very good English. She invited us into the main temple and she honored Buddha when she entered and told me how old the temple is (1,900 years old) and then gave a history of some of the candles that are sold there they are traditionally lite by students and teachers in honor of cleverness (to get or because you have I don't know).
She asked if I could speak Chinese and I told her a little (yidian一点) then I said women shi meiguoren (我们 是美国人) We are American. Women shi laoshi, henan gong ye da xue. (我们是老师河南工业大学) We are teachers at Henan University of Technology. After getting permission to take a picture in the temple we did and then went outside as the woman took out a prayer book and began to pray. The plan was to wait until she finished and ask where I could get a prayer book but she had planned to say a lot of prayers so we found someone else who spoke English and asked him where to get a prayer book. He pointed us in the direction of the book store or library.
When we got there the woman bowed to us and I responded by bowing to her and saying that I wanted to get a prayer book. She selected a book from the collection in the book shelf and when I asked how much in Chinese she looked at me and said something that I didn’t understand. She kept saying it over and over and I still didn’t get it so she got the man who spoke English and he told me that the book, CD and things Nena had gotten were free. We were floored and the generosity didn’t stop there, she wrote down a website where I could read more about Buddhism online and then gave us apples to snack on. I’ve often seen and felt the kindness of Chinese people but this was awesome! I am very excited to learn more about Buddhism and I look forward to our trip to Louyang this week for tomb sweeping day or Qingming Jie (清明节).