Welcome Back Buddha!

This weekend, I went to check out the grand re-opening of the Texas Guandi Temple which is located on I-45 in the warehouse district inside the 610-loop.

So let me ask you, have you ever seen it? Did you know that our Guandi temple is the largest in the United States? Crazy huh?

The place was originally completed in January 1999, but then in January 2004, the inside of the temple was gutted by a fire. But in true Buddhist fashion, the temple was re-born in January 2006 (notice a pattern here?).

On the way to check out the re-dedication, I stopped at HEB and bought a few pounds of mangos to give as a donation to the monks of the temple. Let’s check out the temple!

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The front of the temple during the incredibly beautiful weekend weather!

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After taking off your shoes, you are greeted by (left to right): Prince Guang Ping, Guan Di the saint, and General Zhou Cang. Off to the right, you see Ma Ye with Red Hare and in the background you see Sakyamuni.

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A closer view of the massive Sakyamuni statue. To the left is a small statue of Di Zang King as well as Empress Heaven off to the far left. I can’t find anything on these gods/goddesses/legendary figures on the Internet… but if you ask one of the monks at the temple, they will be more than happy to share what they know.

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This is a close up of Di Mu Yuan Gong (again, no information available on the Internet) and in the background you’ll notice a funny looking swastika. Those who have read my blog, will recall how I found a package of noodles with a backwards swastika printed on the package. I found out later that it was a symbol for vegetarian-safe food. All of the icons in the temple had the same type of large discs behind them with colourful swastikas rotating behind them. For me, it was kind of strange to see the symbol all over the place… especially with how I have been conditioned to associate the symbol with something else.

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And here we have the beautiful Guanyin contrasted by a large, rusting metal building frame and the blue skies of the earth. I find this image strangely peaceful.

While it was fun checking out the renovated temple and chatting with monks, I was starting to get hungry for Chinese food! So I decided to find Yao Ming’s restaurant… which is cleverly called:

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Ha! Nothing like cashing in baby!

Anyway, the place looked nice, but didn’t have anything distinctive about it. At least, nothing in the décor told you that you were in a Chinese restaurant. The place simply looks like a typical American-style restaurant with a few Asian accents here and there.

The food, on the other hand, was pretty darn delicious. I chose the mu shu chicken which was listed as a “chef’s specialty” while my companion ordered the pepper steak. The portions were not obnoxiously big, so it wasn’t a problem nearly finishing both plates. Both of us agreed though that the pepper steak was better than the mu shu, but only because the flavors of the pepper steak were so crisp and fresh. I’ve heard that their Peking Duck is one of the best in Houston, but my friend was an anti-duck eating person.

Final verdict: If I want Chinese again, I’ll stop at Ming’s Café or Fung’s Kitchen (even though their service sucks).

This post references 5 Wikipedia articles and contains one easter egg.

1 Comment so far

  1. katya (unregistered) on January 17th, 2006 @ 1:12 pm

    Good post – really love the photos. I don’t know why it took me so damn long to write this comment…



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