Celebrating Chinese New Year at the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple: Sheep and Harmony

Happy Chinese New Year! It was at this time last year that my sister, my nephew, and I had a magnificent, soul-filling time at the Hsi Lai Buddhist temple in Hacienda Heights. I will never forget it—the light, the beauty, the warmth and openness of the people. I still have the pretty blue lantern I got for answering a riddle hung on my bedroom lamp. It reminds me daily of all I learned and experienced there. Athena was a large part of the experience—gracious goddess that she is.

Here is the story (and the pictures):

Soul Bites Blog

On the train to my sister’s house, riding through southern California’s ultra-glamourous Inland Empire, I read Sera Beak’s book, Red Hot and Holy. In it, she talks about her many travels and personal experiences with spiritualities all around the world. in particular, I was reading how she studied with devotees of Kali in Calcutta. As I read, I longed to be able to do the same—to be able to travel the world and learn about different religions—to have that kind of freedom and enlightenment to inform my heart and bring back to my own practice.

Brother-in-law, Sister, and Nephew at Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple Brother-in-law, Sister, and Nephew at Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple

I still had that prayer in my heart when I arrived in Covina to meet my sister, nephew, and brother-in-law. It was my sister’s birthday. She arrived at the train station in a demure black sweater with a purple flower climbing the shoulder, and a…

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About M. Ashley

Essayist and poet, my work has been rejected by some of the finest journals in America. Fortunately, it also gets accepted from time to time and has appeared in equally fine journals such as Word Riot, Inlandia, Brew City Magazine, and SageWoman among others.. In 2002, I was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize for Vanderbilt University. For no good reason, I possess an unnecessarily dark humor which is why being third generation California Inland Empirian delights me so. My gods are weird. I once received $350 for writing a smartassed essay on “why the wise use of water is important in my daily life”. I am undoubtedly the Greek god Hermes’ special snowflake. I’m pretty sure I got into college via a series of fortuitous clerical errors. When I had to grow up and get a real job, I decided against it and stayed a writer. I have worked many odd—and I mean odd—jobs to support my habit: Commercial writer for country music hopefuls, resume massager, WalMart fitting room attendant and switchboard operator, telephone psychic.
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