We headed south and a bit west of Chengdu Thursday morning, a several-hour bus ride to foggy Mt. Emei, one of the most revered places in China. A massive Buddhist research institute dominates the town of Emei. We were warmly greeted by monks who gave us a tour of the ornate and majestic temples spread throughout the grounds of the Institute.
Over an unending pot of tea, we engaged in a lively and mutually illuminating conversation with three monks about the curriculum of the institute, its training of Buddhist priests, and basic ideas in both Buddhism and Christianity. Normally, photography is not permitted inside the Buddhist temples. However, after our conversation, our hosts invited our faculty, staff and students to witness, photograph and record a fifteen-minute Buddhist ritual of prayer and meditation.