B. Philosophy and Religion

Human Thoughts and Beliefs

Buddhism: White Horse Temple (白马寺) in Luoyang, the country’s first temple built in 68 CE after the introduction of Buddhism through the Silk Road (2006). Later, Mahayana Buddhism, one of the two major schools, spread to China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, etc.
Buddhism: Shoden’an at Engakuji Temple (円覚寺) in Kamakura, Japan (2022). D. T. Suzuki, who wrote many books in English introducing the concept of Zen in Buddhism, practiced at the temple and stayed here for a time.
Buddhism: Potala Palace in Lhasa (2007). Vajrayana Buddhism, a major extension of Mahayana, spread to Tibet, other Himalayan regions, Mongolia, etc.
Buddhism: Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, believed in the country to be the oldest chedi on the Indochinese peninsula (2020). Theravada Buddhism, another of the two major schools, spread to Sri Lanka and the Indochinese Peninsula (except Vietnam), etc.
Hinduism and Buddhism: Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, founded as a Hindu temple in the 12th century and later converted to a Buddhist one (2009).
Buddhism: Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen in Bangkok (2019).
Christianity: The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, a cross that rises straight on the curves of nature (2015).
Christianity: “Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times” (Isaiah 33:6) at Rockefeller Center in NYC, a Bible verse that speaks to busy people in the big city (2015).
Islam: A “qibla” sign for Muslims at a hotel room in Dubai, indicating the center of worship at the Kaaba in Mecca (2008).
Shinto: Benten Island (弁天島) in Izumo, the site of a myth about the unification process of Japan (2019).
Shinto: One of the 16 sacred pillars, “onbashira” (御柱), standing at the four corners of each of the four composite Suwa Taisha (諏訪大社) shrines in Suwa, Japan (2021). The pillars have been rebuilt every seven years since ancient times. Their origin is unknown, but some believe that they mark sacred boundaries.
Shinto: The original site of Kumano Hongu Taisha (熊野本宮大社), which was moved to higher ground nearby after flooding in 1889, and Japan’s highest “torii” (鳥居) gate (about 34m) in Tanabe (2018). Since ancient times, many people have made pilgrimages to the three major Kumano shrines, including the Hongu, in the hope of spiritual resurrection.
Philosophy: An after-meal proverb by Herbert Spencer on a fortune cookie slip received at a Chinese restaurant in Columbus, the US (2013).

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