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September 11, 2005

Six banyan trees

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Today we went to the six banyan tree temple, a Buddhist temple in Guangzhou. They performed a blessing for the children, and everybody wandered around the enclosure. The temple is very open: it's fine to walk around, take pictures, participate in the blessing or not as you choose. The picture to the left shows all the families with babies receiving the blessing from the three monks t o the right.  We didn't participate, but only because Gwen was sleeping and we'd have had to wake her.

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The temple was beautiful, and nominally has an 1800-year history -- although it's been destroyed 9 times during that period by various wars. There's a cool 9-story pagoda, shown here, said to house part of the Buddha's remains, brought from India to Guangzhou.

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There are lots of stories in China about people on the streets running up and staring at the babies, fixing clothing, offering frantic advice in obscure dialects, and generally being helpful and motherly. We had a big group of maybe twenty women who were fascinated by the prospect of Gwen being with Donna and me. They clustered around while she slept, and told us (as a helpful translator told us) that she was a lucky girl. (We feel like the lucky ones.) Here's a picture that a few of the women posed for.

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