A LETTER TO THE WONG TAI SIN TEMPLE
-text Andrei Dorian Gheorghe;
photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe and Felician Ursache;
design Florin-Alexandru Stancu-
We felt ourselves bashful
stepping somewhere in the immense territory of China,
a country where
in the 2nd millennium BC
emperors asked astrologers for predicting eclipses,
in the 4th century BC astronomers made star catalogues,
and in the 3rd century BC
supernovae were named “guest stars”.
we stepped in a special zone of China,
which had been part of the British Crown
for a while,
an extraordinary cultural-economic fusion
between East and West resulting,
which transformed Hong Kong into
“Asia’s World City”.
walking in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Peninsula in November 2012,
we saw, as elements of that multi-culturality,
a few Christian edifices…
…and even a mosque.
But for us the main attraction
had to be the Wong Tai Sin Temple,
nicknamed the “temple of three religions”,
a demonstrative construction made in the 1910s
and containing room for
Daoism, Confucianism and Buddhism
(China’s major philosophy-religions
coming from antiquity),
in which the Cosmos appears in fantastic embodiments,
culminating with various celestial spheres
Dear Wong Tai Sin Temple:
Since it is hard for me to express
I hope you would excuse me for my primitivism
if I compare a synthesis of your rules
with the principles of my education.
I was trained to believe in
Mendeleev’s table of elements,
not in your cosmology
and in your Five Elements
(wood, water, metal, fire and earth).
yin and yang are too complicated,
I prefer to divide the world into
the bad and the evil.
Your principles of aesthetics
are too much for me,
I like to enjoy the beauty of the world
surrounded by the heavens
without too many criteria.
My “path of enlightenment” is
to hear birds singing,
to admire nature flourishing,
to see planets and stars walking,
and to find deep sky objects through a telescope.
For me, the Tao is just
the oblivion to have a job for survival
in contradiction with
the joy to watch the skies.
But I synchronize
to your Three Treasures,
“compassion” when Venus transits the Sun,
“moderation” when the Moon is forced to repeat four phases,
and “humiliation” when the Sun climbs to the zenith,
inspiring symbols for both
your world and my world!
© 2013 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)