The pictures taken at Rose Hills were mostly from the area around the Buddhist Columbarium. I grew up in a cemetery rich environment. There were Jewish, Roman Catholic, Chinese, and Serbian cemeteries an easy walk from my house. So it was an natural thing to go to the top of the hill and check out the pagoda.
As it turns out the Buddhist Columbarium was built in 1999. According to Wikipedia it’s that largest Buddhist pagoda in the U.S. Visually it beckoned. When I got closer it aurally beckoned, too. There was gentle chanting coming from the loudspeakers. Very calm, very clear, very inviting.
Having been to the commemorative ceremonies for friends who were Buddhist, I felt it was okay to go in the columbarium. I probably would have gone in anyway since there weren’t any signs telling me not to do so. Have to embrace the curiosity that leads us to learn about each other. Qué no?
I watched as too folks who looked Asian lit incense and then left it as the front of the space. This is what I had done when I was at services for my departed friends. After they left I did the same. All the while the gentle recorded chanting continued. I tried to visually drink in all I could. There was a lot of energy in that room. A thin bit of smoke swirled from the top of the incense.
As I left, I passed an office where a Buddhist nun was sharing – no regaling – her buddy with a story in a language I didn’t understand. They were having the the best time. Head noddings, miles, large hand gestures, buddy back and forths.
The energy was swirling around there, too.