I just applied and got accepted to work at Place of Peace this September, 2013 with my friend, Xueer. Place of Peace is a Japanese temple, originally from Nagoya, Japan. It was owned by a family until this family decided to immigrant to the United States. One of the family members became good friends with Dr. Shaner, who taught Philosophy classes at Furman University. When the family was deciding on selling the land where the temple was rested on, instead of destroying it, they generously decided to donate the temple to Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Everything in the temple was authentic, made in Japan and shipped from Japan.
For the past three months, working in the temple every Saturday gave me the opportunity to meet so many new people, hear their stories, lead them the meditation sessions, and show them this beautiful scene at Furman. Almost everyone who came to the Place of Peace would ask Xueer and me the same questions:” Where are you from? Are you two students at Furman? What is your major?” Almost everyone who came to the Place of Peace is stunned by its handicraft structure and authentic Japanese feelings. And they also wondered why this Japanese temple would be located inside an American campus. We would answer their questions and show them how to use the meditation bowl to lead the meditation session.
All in all, I felt working at the Place of Peace is a chance for me to be in touch with the graceful Place of Peace, peaceful temple, kind visitors, and nice workmates. From not knowing any background information about Hei-sei-ji to now, I can fluently introduce the history, reason, and purposes of this temple to every visitor, this experience had trained me to be confident talking to every visitor, remember everything about the temple, and be able to keep the temple to always be in a beautiful and clean condition.
Being close to a Buddhist temple makes me feel peaceful, quiet, and concentrated. Every Saturday when I go and work in the temple, when I look at the temple, I feel myself has calm down and being separated from the outside world with all kinds of work. Meditation sessions can help one slow down, relax, and think. In the end, Luke, Xueer, and I truly welcome everyone of you come to the Place of Peace, in Japanese: Hei-sei-ji, to experience this close connection to grace, peace, and beauty.