Lama Temple Wishes

A Chinese girl makes a wish at the Lama Temple

A Chinese girl makes a wish at the Lama Temple

The Lama Temple, formally known as the Yonghe Temple, is one of the many historical sites in Beijing, China. Constructed in the late 17th century primarily as an imperial palace, it later became a place of worship for Tibetan Buddhists. It is known for its 85 foot, or 26 meter, statue of the Maitreya Buddha. While it is mind-blowing in person, no matter what angle you try to shoot from, capturing its magnificent presence is almost impossible.

When I visited in 2006, after pondering the Maitreya and gazing at the bronze Buddhas of the Three Ages, I strolled around, taking in the colorful architecture and smell of burning incense. I spotted a girl standing by a wishing well, grasping her wallet hesitantly. She seemed to be wondering if immersing her yuan (Chinese currency) in the water would really bring her good luck.

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