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Sunday, March 04, 2029

What's New at The Temple Guy?

Here's a listing of new, COMPLETED posts and pages, with the most recent listed first. (There are lots more in various stages of construction, but these are DONE.)


October 2019:

Friday, September 27, 2019

Bliss, Bush, and Bullshit

[This article was originally posted Thursday, January 08, 2004, on the long-gone "Barefoot Fool" blog, which you can read a little more about here. As with so many of my old projects, there are broken promises in this piece: "Campbell's words and work will be a constant theme in this blog..." Hard to imagine when the blog itself is moribund!

[Anyway, in today's political climate, I--like others--find myself yearning for the relatively benign antics of Bush the Younger. Hell, Nixon's starting to look not-so-bad! Anyway, think of the comments at the end as a sort of time capsule, and take away whatever you can use.]

Last Sunday [Jan. 4, 2004] I attended a very L.A. event. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) had sponsored an exhibition of Buddhist art called "The Circle of Bliss." In association with that exhibition, they sponsored a group of Tibetan monks to create an 8-foot-across sand mandala. In weeks to come, I hope to present a detailed interpretation of its symbolism, on a subsidiary page. {Never did--broken promise!] In the meantime, I will briefly tell you of its importance.

My "Ancestral Shrine"

A Tribute to My Family, My Japanese Sojourn, and My Ancestors

[This article was originally posted in the "American Temples" section of the old Temple Guy site, probably in late 2004 or early 2005. At that time, I was publishing the "Laughing Buddha" blog; see here for more information on that and other defunct projects. Notes in square brackets were added in 2019, when the article was relocated to this site. I have also added far more photos than were in the original.]

Back in the early 50's, before this disreputable Laughing Buddha was born, my family moved to the house they still live in, in Rosemead, a suburb of Los Angeles.

In L.A.'s highly mobile society, fifty years [now over 65] is a long time for anyone to stay in one place, but the Buckets have done just that. All of us--my two older brothers, my younger sister, and I--went to the same elementary, junior high, and high schools. We had many of the same teachers, and friends of mine were often siblings of my sibling's friends.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Pindangan Ruins, San Fernando,
La Union, The Philippines

On our way to see the Ma-Cho Temple in San Fernando, La Union, we made a quick stop at a site I'd read about, just four kilometers or so south of the turnoff to the Temple.

Looking toward the altar end, where the statue is located under the tree

There's not much to see at the ruins of Pindangan Church, just a lot of lonely walls. But the story of the place is worth telling, and the loving care shown by the Carmelite Sisters next door (who own the property)--and who have kept it in what preservationists call "a state of arrested decay"--makes it that much more special.

Friday, September 20, 2019

The 18 Arhats at Ma-Cho Temple,
San Fernando, La Union

[These photos were taken on a trip my family and I made to the Ma-Cho (Mazu) Temple in San Fernando, La Union, The Philippines. You can read more about that visit. here.]

The Ma-Cho Temple in San Fernando, La Union, is famous for many things: for its "majestic" five-portal gate, its Kwan Yin Terrace and Eight-Sided Pavilion, its quaint matching Bell and Drum Tower, and of course its tiny, gorgeous main statue of Ma-Cho (Mazu), the Sea Goddess.

Interestingly, though, it is also noted for its mistakenly-named "Eighteen Chinese Saints." These are actually the Eighteen Arhats (also called, in Chinese, 十八羅漢 Shiba Luohan, as a sign near them says). They're ranged along the retaining wall for the Kwan Yin Terrace, between its stone buttresses.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Ma-Cho Temple, San Fernando,
La Union, The Philippines

[Don't miss our stop at the Pindangan Ruins on the way to this temple.]

Main Hall of the Ma-Cho Temple, note Drum (L) and Bell (R) Towers

On July 20, 2019, in celebration of my 64th birthday, Lila and I hired a car and driver to take us (with the boy) 3-1/2 hours north, to the capital city of San Fernando Province, La Union. There we visited two sites: First, the ancient ruins of the Pindangan Church (to be posted later), and then the main focus of the trip: the immense and beautiful Ma-Cho Temple on a hill overlooking the West Philippine Sea.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

"My Lady's Parlour"

I recently ran across a book of short pieces about China, On a Chinese Screen, by the English playwright, novelist, and short story writer W. Somerset Maugham, best known for Of Human Bondage, The Moon and Sixpence, Cakes and Ale, and The Razor's Edge. (Links lead to online texts.) He wrote the sketches based on a 1919-1920 trip along the Yangtze River; it was published in 1922.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Me and the Abbot: Venerable Hui Chuan of Hsi Lai Temple

The YUGE Main Hall at Hsi Lai Temple, Hacienda Heights, CA

For a half a year (roughly November 2002 to April 2003) I had the privilege of working at Hsi Lai Temple (Wiki) in southeastern L.A. County, which used to bill itself as "the largest Buddhist temple in North America." I'm not sure how that's measured, as there are certainly temples with more land, and possibly more floor space. It may be the largest Main Hall, as I can't recall seeing any bigger. (Now it's advertised as "one of the largest Buddhist temples in the Western Hemisphere.")

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

It's Here: The New and
Improved Temple Guy!

Since July of 2004, my old site ( has been serving pilgrims, researchers, and temple geeks the world over, covering my experiences in Japan and, less so, China.

A January, 2019, web search reveals that the site's name appears in at least two print books--a travel guide and a book on geopolitics--as well as on numerous homepages--and even on Wikipedia!

Alas, I lost control of that site (built on a clunky old platform using FrontPage, a software program that's not even available any more). It hasn't been updated in dog's years--in fact, for a full decade now. However, due to the large number of incoming links, I will keep the site online as long as I can.

A screen shot of the original homepage

Meanwhile, this new site (note the "dot-org" extension) will share with you some of the many places I've been fortunate to visit--temples and shrines in East and Southeast Asia, as well as old mission churches and ruins in the American southwest (and churches in the Philippines, too, where I now live).

As I start to crank up my online presence again, this the new and improved version of that venerable-if-clunky labor of love.

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Friday, October 22, 1999

In which the Temple Guy "Meets" the Emperor and Empress of Japan

It's ironic that my first official post on the new The Temple Guy blog is not about temples at all (although a Shinto shrine does make an appearance).

My excuse, though, is a good one: I am writing this post on May 1, 2019, as Japan enters a new era. Emperor Akihito abdicated yesterday and the Heisei Era came to an end; he and the lovely missus are now His Imperial Majesty The Emperor Emeritus and Her Imperial Majesty The Empress Emerita.