“Love is Blind. True Love Never Runs Smooth.” This is seen in the Meditation Garden at the Buddhist Temple in Tampa, Florida. This sign represents the general teachings of Buddhism which is that we are responsible for our actions. To me, this quote means that we can overlook things in order to foster “love” or goodwill to one another. In doing so, we will be able to overcome the bumps along the road of life. In any relationship, personal, family or communal, success depends on being able to cultivate and maintain trust and knowing that we are there for one another thereby celebrating with one another but also sharing in the face of challenges.
In our class today, all of the presentations featured stories of visits to various intercultural centers and the experiences all seem to show that these centers exist to attempt to build bridges between cultures. Based on these experiences, I believe that we come away with a new perspective of cultures that are different from our own. The Buddhist center created an environment and a forum for others to learn about their customs and beliefs and I did not feel like an outsider at any time. They have developed practices in English for the benefit of people like me and that made the experience even greater. Sometimes when we think of the images that certain names bring to mind, it may be because we just haven’t taken the time to find out what those names or titles really mean. Taking an individual approach to any culture will usually be more beneficial than just lumping everyone into a group. On my visit, I sought out individuals who were willing to tell me about themselves and what they liked about the Temple and the Market and I observed people who are regular visitors or workers (including volunteers) and it was almost like I was transported to a place in Thailand but they spoke my language. I am looking forward to visiting the Islamic Center next week.