David Matthew Hecht, Luther College
Full paper: www.kon.org/urc/v10/hecht.html
The Button Orchid
Introduction Each day at Manting temple begins with meditation while the sun rises and ends with meditation as the sun sets. Days are filled with quiet practice and modest work–sweeping fallen leaves with palm frond brooms, washing bamboo sitting mats in the temple courtyard, or hanging up curtains in the nunnery. Life within the temple walls feels simpler, slower–more intentional somehow. For resident Buddhist monks and nuns this is the nature of monastery life. However, on select days throughout the year, the pace of community life is adjusted to accommodate a time of festival and celebration–a time when farmers and shopkeepers take a break from their daily obligations to celebrate with food, music, dancing, and worship. The local temple halts routine daily practice to prepare and host the incoming community of Buddhist practitioners worshiping, praying, and celebrating community and connections to the ancestors and the Buddha. On the day of the biggest Dai Buddhist festival of the year, life is celebrated in full and connections to the ancestors and the Buddha are renewed.