Slow Travel

kung hei fat choy

Wednesday noon we made our way again to this Buddhist temple in Hacienda Heights, the biggest in L.A. by far with 15 acres temple complex. And it was clearly a feast over there with the year of the snake just a few days of coming in… We come every year and the first time was in 2010 and it was during the Lunar New Year craze, and by that I really mean crazy. I made it sure the next time that we go would be a week before the temple gets super packed, where parking is impossible and a good serene prayer isn’t that serene.


As you enter the temple grounds and drive up that big hill to the parking you know as soon as you turn that corner you’re going to see something spectacular, something you’d never think would be nestled in Hacienda Heights, only a few miles away from a Vons and El Pollo Loco. Seeing the temple was like being transported to another country. We have to slow the car down just so we could really soak in the beauty of the outside…and to let a monk cross the street who jumped out in front of us (even monks jaywalk, that made me smile).

The smell of incense was everywhere, I lighted two of them and bowed to the Thousand Buddhas and asked for what is Divinely mine by birth — prosperity, abundance, wealth, good health and happiness for this year of the snake.
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The shrine is flawless and I whipped out my camera to take a picture until I saw the “No Cameras” sign. Darn! It’s understandable though, everyone in there is in a zen-like zone. They’re kneeling, praying, meditating, it wouldn’t have felt right to take a picture of that private moment anyway. Several meditation classes were going on and lots of people were sitting around reading. It was like a private little paradise. But I took one anyway, without flash. It was so beautiful to pass just one click.
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And off I went. With a big 😀 .

And their tea room is pretty nice too, they offer free coffee & tea of course.
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11 Comments

  1. No cameras allowed there. Hehehe. 😀 Excellent, EXCELLENT images here. Hsi Lai Temple truly is a cross-country location. It IS amazing it’s situated in like the most unlikely location.
    I’m joining the New Year craze this weekend in Chinatown. I missed the occasions last weekend.

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    • When I went there I remember you visiting the place at one point… share photos of Chinatown pretty please…

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  2. Really a spectacular place – the shots are just yummy! And your description of the experience is great 😀 Sometimes a blurry shot is more than enough to remember and describe a moment – it’s not true that a picture is worth more than a 1000 words, and thanks for taking the time share 🙂

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  3. This is wonderful! I would never ever have known this was there (as most people would not). Fantastic. I love learning things like this from blogging. (Is it just open for anyone to drive through that way?)

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  4. Looking at your photos it seemed that they were taken in China not in USA… I understand your feeling of being somewhere else far from were you actually were. Thanks for sharing it here, so I can discover this temple in California too.
    Have a great weekend.

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  5. ok.. I’m officially jealous! 🙂 What a wonderful place and such awesome pictures. I love the tiny Buddha in the flowers. So cute! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  6. Magnificent images! The fragrance from the flowers must be wonderful. Glad you were able to enjoy it before the crowds arrive! 😉

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  7. This looks like an amazing place to visit, Prem!
    Thank you for taking us along with you.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

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  8. Absolutely beautiful! I have never heard of this place. I would have visited it for sure. Funny about the jaywalking monks. 😉

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    • If you’re ever in the area then come for a visit. They even have a vegetarian buffet on weekends. 😀 But that I have to try yet.

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