Hsi Lai Temple – Buddhist Culture in Hacienda Heights

For many years I have hung out in Hacienda Heights, California, to pursue my profession with a company that happened to be located close to this rather uninteresting and dull city.

And I never knew that just up the street was a huge Chinese-Buddhist temple – five minutes away from where I usually got on the freeway when going home to the center of all culture – Hollywood.

A few days ago I was invited by a friend to go to this Buddhist Temple she had discovered for herself and that was really working well for her in terms of prayers being heard – and not only heard in the sense of “Oh year, thanks, got it!” but in the sense of being acted upon and fulfilled.

So, one Monday we got on the road and headed towards Hacienda Heights and when we got off the freeway at Hacienda Blvd. heading south I got rather curious because I thought I knew the area but was absolutely not aware of a temple. I had to admit that I had never followed Hacienda Blvd up that far.

And then suddenly there it was, totally mis-placed in the suburban area, this huge temple – the Hsi Lai Temple.

Buddhist Hsi Lai Temple

We did all the things you usually do in a temple like this and it felt good. I was reminded of a visit to a Buddhist temple in Berlin, Germany, many years ago that had a lasting impact on me. I don’t remember much of that visit, especially where in Berlin that temple was but after some research I have concluded that it might have been “das Buddhistische Haus” in Berlin-Frohnau. I remember that we took the S-Bahn very far north in West-Berlin, but the pictures on the web site do not match what I remember.

But what I certainly remember was the total mental silence that filled the place and was instantly noticeable right after stepping through the gate from the street. I remember that this silence was so unnerving to my friend who had taken me there, that he needed body contact to be able to stand it.

Back to the Hsi Lai Temple – it did not have that intense silence permeating it, but it is certainly a place where you can spend some time reflecting and gathering energy.

On leaving we passed a little stand where you could get a Dharma Word for a donation of one dollar. I certainly had to do this. I got one little plastic ball with no way to open, but right next to the dispenser of the plastic ball was a plastic ball crusher. You put your newly acquired plastic ball into this crusher, banged down the handle and so now I can share what I found in the sphere…

Dharma Word

When our mind overcomes all temptations, every day is a happy day. When illusory thoughts do not arise, every place is a peaceful place. When the mind is still and all thoughts cease, that is true wealth. When selfish desires terminate, that is the true field of merit.