As the subject says, yesterday was my birthday. I’m now twenty-seven years old, though I honestly did not feel it much. It was kind of an interesting day, filled with meals, drinks, and other assorted activities. I find a certain sense of timing in the fact that I did a little personal exploration the day before, which is going to be the subject of my philosophy final essay due on Monday morning. The point of the final in my philosophy class was to visit a center of worship that I’m not familiar with. So I chose to visit a Buddhist temple; one of the many located within San Jose. I ended up making a visit to two such temples.
The first was a Chinese Traditionalist temple, located on McKee Road in San Jose. It was less of a temple and more of a monastery; complete with monks, nuns, and other entrants upon the religion’s caretakers. I was instantly taken with the design of the temple and the amount of people coming and going. Unlike other places of worship, the activity level of this temple was constant in worshippers arriving, observing their rituals, and then leaving. A steady steam of people entered and departed as I was there, just taking it all in. However, while I was looking forward to exploring the religion a little more, I discovered that there was a tremendous language barrier preventing me from asking any deep questions and having them understood. I wish my Chinese was as good as my Japanese… but they were kind enough to point me toward the Japanese temple in San Jose’s Japantown. I know the San Jose Japantown very well, but I did not know there was a large temple on Fifth, just up half a block from Jackson. I made myself an appointment to speak with one of the reverends, and then went to lunch.
When I returned, I met with Reverend Gerald Sakamoto, who was very friendly and welcomed me into his office. I had a lengthy spiritual discussion about the methods behind Buddhism, as well as the basis for it. It was, for lack of a better term, enlightening. It had me thinking about the way in which I view my own faith (or lack thereof), and whether or not the true faith I’ve been seeking has not been for one of a deification but a sense of open-minded behavior. I learned about the four noble truths, and the eightfold noble path. Buddhism seems more in line with the perspective I hold within myself, and although it’s a Japanese community, the Reverend invited me to attend services if I desired. Unfortunately, services are on Sunday, and I’m usually working. The differences between the two temples seemed to me to be that one was Westernized while the other was not. I’m not saying I’m going to jump into with both feet, but if it should strike me so, then I’ll investigate it a little more. I digress…
My birthday was pretty fun. I had lunch with my family at my favorite Japanese restaurant, and they proceeded to embarrass me with pictures of me as a baby. But I remember a lot of the events when the pictures were taken, the memories came flooding back to me when they came into view. Then Todd and friends took me out to dinner at my second favorite Japanese steakhouse, where we proceeded to laugh and carry on for a couple of hours before we closed the place down and went home to sleep.