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BEIJING: Lama Temple
October 2005

This temple, conveniently located directly above a subway stop, is the most renowned Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet.  It started as just another palace residence, but it was converted to a lamasery in 1744.  As we wandered its courtyards on Thursday morning, it appeared to be about the same as every other place we’d been to so far, except for the people burning incense and bowing to the large gold buddhas residing in the halls.  There seemed to be little conflict between the tourists and the religious, and often they were one in the same.  The highlight of this temple was the 26 meter tall Buddha carved out of one piece of sandalwood, warranting it entry into the Guinness Book of World Records.  I’m sure it’s what the Buddha would have most desired.


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