Ornate Buddhist temples are some of the most stunning structures on earth. The interiors are filled with altars and colors, lights, decorations, patterned tile and intricate designs that strike awe and wonder but also embodies a warm, welcoming atmosphere amidst its busy resonance. There is fresh fruit and newly cooked food offered to the deceased, the robes of the monks are a bright yellow or orange, sometimes a muted brown and their benevolent pacing around the temple is one of simple precision. Sometimes when they chant as they pray, the hypnotic and haunting sound resembles a strange, calm, growling animal of god.
European cathedrals and gothic churches are architectural masterpieces, with their stained glass and towering arches, vaulted ceilings and dominant steeples, such masonry and woodwork is unsurpassed by hardly any other type of building. Inside, despite their grandiose features, these churches are downright impressive. But sometimes it’s in a dreary horror movie sort of way, a deep fleshy fear that ignores the sun that enters through the colored glass windows as a certain foreboding and demand for subservience echoes quietly through its chambers. To a child or someone who may not be so god-fearing, it’s a frightening prospect that a man wearing all black whose intimidating house of worship is the only thing standing between them and their maker.
Both are houses of god and both provide people places to find strength and answers, places to say hello to friends and farewell to the dead. However different and strange, however dark and sinister, it’s all the same god who we all wish we knew a little more about.