PILGRIMAGE AND TOURISM

PILGRIMAGE AND TOURISM

 
Secularized Sacred Experiences
Black and white photograph of a man in sunglasses and a short-sleeve white button-down using a selfie-stick to take a selfie in front of the entrance to a temple
Black-and-white photograph of two men, one takes a photo of the other, his image visible in his phone screen; the subject stands in front of a rock with an inscription and plants
Black and white image of a large incense burner, a man who has climbed onto the burner crouches on its lip; two women in the foreground hold incense to their foreheads
Black and white photograph of a woman, seen from the back, lighting a candle in a covered display of large candles; near the right edge of the photo two men rake the wax drippings that have collected below
Just as the woman is putting the candles carrying her wish and worship on to the rack, the other two temple staff are cleaning up the other candles and throwing them into baskets for recycling. What is the exact moment when the candles transform from sacred to secular and secular back to sacred?
Black-and-white photograph of a line of people; the image is close-up enough that the line eclipses features of the background
This is a special window in this Buddhist temple on Mount Emei. The temple offers stamps carved with prayers and spells onto banners brought by the pilgrims. These banners will, as explained by one of the pilgrims, be burned with the deceased so that their journey to the celestial is blessed by the Buddhas from all the temple they have traveled to in their lifetime. This custom is no longer in the area where the temple is located; however, the temple is still providing this service for those pilgrims from other geographical areas who are keeping the practice.
Black-and-white photograph of a woman holding a cloth, folded in half, in both hands (so it hangs down like a towel on a towel rack); she looks down at it, smiling
“What is this?” I asked. “It will get cremated along with my body when I pass away in the future,” she answered, folding this cloth covered with stamps collected from temples she traveled to all over China. Later, she pulled out another three. “What are those for?” “They are for my husband and my parents-in-law. I’m traveling for them because they can’t come themselves. We all need Buddha’s blessing when we die.”
Black and white people of several people descending outdoor stairs, as seen from behind;  one person nearest the top of the stairs looks back
A member of an elderly pilgrimage group organized by a tourism company looking back at the temple.
 
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