Saturday, October 07, 2006

Mid-Autum Mooncake Madness

Music: Against Me! - You look like I need a drink
Drinking: 2002 Great Wall Cabernet. From the bottle: The Great Wall Golden Packing high-grade dry red wine is made from the international famous Cabernat which cultivated by the famous producing Huaizhuo basin in China,adopting the modem machines, expuisite technology of oak brewing. It's a kind of fresh wine. The product shows purple,red clear body, harmonize and cheerful fruit and oak fragrance, has a sens of soft. Typical.


Yesterday was mid-autumn day, its basically a holiday where everyone gets together with family etc, eats mooncake, and girds their loins for the oncoming winter I suppose. This is mooncake by the way, they retail for anywhere from 1 yuan each, to about 500 RMB for a box of six (half a months wages for most people). I got these cheap cause it was the last day. They had a kind of nutty filling, others have fruit, jelly, whatever.

Mooncakes

Perky (one of the Chinese English teachers) invited me to take a boat ride down the moat/canal thing, to the White tower and surrounds. I envisioned a sedate plod down river in a traditional chinese barge thing. Oh ho ho ho no. That's for chumps, like these guys we almost capsized in our wake:

More Traditional River boat, that we almost capsized.

We did the journey in a roar of engines, a blast of gasoline smoke, and a spray of dubious canal water (dear god don't get it in your mouth)

Liaoyang Canal, by speed boat

I mentioned this white tower earlier, mostly in reference to the tacky tourist temple built next to it. In fact, I was wrong, the temple was pretty cool. Sure its brand new, but its a replacement for the original one that burned down a century or so ago, and its a functional buddhist hang-out as well as a tourist trap.

Here's the main hall (sky palace or somesuch):

Main Temple

Inside of which, is this jovial fella, the largest wooden buddha in the world (for the time being, they're building a bigger one somewhere else in China). There's a monk down the bottom for reference, but he's about 17m tall (not including the base). The swastika is the buddhist symbol for fortune I think, I don't recall any western buddhists (or the dalai lhama for that matter) sporting them though.

Giant Buddha

Anyway, the place had more buddha's, saints, kings, temples and statues than you could shake an incense stick at (providing you were prepared to fork out 10 yuan per stick).

Here's some highlights:

Dude's totally throwin up the goats:

Not sure what the deal with these guys is

"88 two fat buddha's"

I have the golden pea thing! It's mine!

Wacky diorama thing

Diarama-orama

Here be Devils!

Buddhist devil things


As per usual, there's plenty more here

So, after being suitably impressed with how non-commercial and actually quite stunning the temple complex was, we went over to the White tower itself, I was looking forward to seeing this most, being over 700 years old an all, the only bit of the China I've seen so far wasn't built in the last 50 years. And here it is:

Pagoda from the base

Very impressive. Should you feel the urge to turn yourself 180 degrees though, you will see:

Digimon is apparently relevant to buddhism

DIGIMON. Obviously the buddhistist thing ever in the whole world. Just to drive the point home, in the background of this photo, is a twelfth century wonder of architecture and devotion, in the foreground, well:

Superman?

And of course:

Castle and Temple

I didn't take any pictures of the dusty, run down amusement park that was behind the temple, but suffice to say, there was a stand where you could have your toddler photographed holding a replica pistol.

The mantra around these parts is definitely 'out with the old, in with the new', even if the new happens to be a bunch of poorly made Disney knock-offs and the old happens to be a world heritage site. It's kind of sad really, but I suppose the kitschy glittery stuff gets the Chinese punters in, and that provides the funds to keep the old stuff from falling down.

Anyway, definitely worth a look if you ever find yourself up Liaoyang ways.

Heading home, the moon was huge, red and perfectly full. It was almost as though they'd decided that boring old white crater face wasn't up to the task of celebrating mid-autumn day, so they had him replaced with a newer, better model.

2 comments:

Chris Johnson said...

I am writing about the comment you made about the Swastica/Buddha and how you never seen the Dalai Lama with the Swastica. Just to let you know, I have seen the Dalai lama sitting on a decorative draping with colorful Swasticas on the four quarters of it. And, the picture is all over the web, if you want to look for it. In the eastern/Dharmic religions, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism; it represents God and soul, and the qualities of God and soul. Within Buddhism, it represents our original Buddha Nature and the qualities of IT. Clock-wise or anti-clock-wise...it still symbolize God, the soul and Buddha natures and, that's it. I have seen temples in India and else where in asia, with the so-called "nazi" swastica on their door and etc....and they were made 2,000 years plus. Way before the american materialistic, liberal, atheistic, media started brainwashing americans into believing that the Swastica is evil, which according to Hinduism, this is considered tama guna and avidya or Spiritual ignorance. And, epitomizes the downward slop into the Kali yuga or the present spiritual age we live in, which wraught with atheism, materialism, immorality. And, you know what...the Dharmic/Eastern Religions with their ORIGINAL, Divine understanding of the Swastica, will be around long,long after america and europe plunge head-long into Kali-yugic barbarism and depravity. Their misconception of the really Godly meaning of the Swastica is reflective of the Spiritual ignorance or avidya that americans are wallowing in right now. The Dharmic Religious understanding of the swastica, is way, way beyond...too transcendental to be realized by materialistic, egotistical, atheistic, modern liberal people to Soulfully/Intuitively grasp.
Namaste and namo Amitabha

Ben S - уге said...

Well that was... something. Thanks Chris. I'll return to the downward slop of the Kali Yuga now (or is that reserved for Americans? I'm confused).