Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Wat Dhammararam Buddhist Temple

When the coronavirus storm was closing in on us in March especially with the Grand Princess a floating reminder for the following month of how close it was hitting home, sleepless and at best restless nights and anxiety over such uncertainty became the norm for many of us around the Bay.  So, on our last road trip to Sacramento to exchange an item literally just days before our Shelter In Place went into effect, we stopped at the Wat Dhammararam Buddhist Temple.  

In a quiet area in the Southeast edge of Stockton by Hwy 99 is this Cambodian temple that offered me the peace and hope I so desperately needed in the midst of chaos.  No problem with social distancing which was already in our vocabulary as we had the sprawling grounds all to ourselves with the exception of the groundskeeper and a monk we saw in the distance, for the hour we were there.  

Although the giant 50-foot long sleeping Buddha is the main attraction, 

there are 50 other colorful statues 

and sculptures 

among the grounds to enjoy at a leisurely pace with donation boxes located throughout.  I chose some of my favorites to add to, worth every dollar.  Even though no services were being conducted, the temple itself was open at that time, although shoes needed to be removed before entering. 

These days there is much debate nationwide over the reopening of places of worship, but I still remember the sage advice of the leader of our temple before it had closed 10 years ago due to the building being sold.  He told us the building itself is just a physical meeting place but with faith, God is wherever you are and that can mean your home where you set up your own altar.  It reminded us that God is omnipresent and I do not need to be in a church or temple or synagogue in order for God to hear me or to help me.  As the saying goes, God helps those who help themselves and at this junction with Covid-19, we all need to do our part and with God’s help, we can overcome this. 

As if we need any more proof that God was looking out for us, we had a break in the rain the entire time we were there, only to start pouring minutes after we left.  Another sign to never lose hope that this storm too shall pass. 

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