Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Trip to visit the Buddhist Center near Gramado

About 20 kilometers from Gramado is a Buddhist Center with some temples and other buildings.  The last Saturday before the Egberts left to return to the U.S. we all decided to visit the center to see what it was like.  To get there we had to turn off the main road onto a cobble stone road that turns into a dirt road before arriving at the center way up on top of some jungle covered hills.  The drive was beautiful with thick jungle on both sides of the road.

The sign at the entrance says;
  • Welcome
  • Identify yourself on the speaker phone
  • Go to the explanatory video
  • From this point it is prohibited to smoke
  • Pay attention to the rules of safety and conduct
With us were the two Egbert couples and one Brazilian family Aristel, Meri and daughter Natalia.  Here is our group photo.
  There are many buildings in this center spread around on top of some hills.  The grounds are maintained very well and everything is beautiful. The first main building is one of the temples where it is prohibited to take pictures inside. They did allow one picture in the front entryway that explained their theory of "The Wheel of Life" explaining the Buddhist beliefs of life's circle from birth to death.

This next building is the Prayer Wheel House and the Butterlamp House.

This is the explanation of the butterlamps,

When we walked up the hill to the next temple, we found this little structure across the path which says "Don't step on the ants." There were a couple of places where the ants were crossing the path and the Buddhists try to protect the ants, so we stepped over.

Walking up the trail we also passed a sign that says "Don't step on the Grass", but the Portuguese word for step makes you think of something else.
On the way up the hill to the second temple we passed a structure with lots of little flags flying.  These flags all have prayers written on them, and when the wind blows them it is like the prayers are being said.
This second temple was closed so we could not go inside, but they did allow pictures to be taken through the open windows.

The following picture has a close up of the characters above the door.  We asked what they were and were told they represent snow lions.

We then went down the hill past so interesting structures called Stupas, which represent an enlightened mind.

Just past these was another prayer wheel house.

 Spread throughout the grounds were several other structures and beautiful grounds.

The view from up there was beautiful, with the towns of Tres Coroas and Igrejinha in the distance.
There were also several buildings where the residents lived.  We met a few of the residents as we were walking around.

We also saw some interesting people as we were walking around, like this lady with blue hair.
And a few other strange characters.

We had a wonderful visit there and were glad we went.  Afterward we went back to Gramado for lunch at a Colonial Café, where they bring out samples of lots of different types of food.  If you want more of a certain kind you just have to ask.  It is an all you can eat place for one fixed price.

There was also a huge dessert bar we took advantage of and tried samples of many different desserts.
After lunch we went to the Colonial Festival of Gramado, which is a big celebration of the colonial era when agriculture was the main way of life.  There was a parade of ox drawn carts.


There were also other vehicles and children in traditional colonial costumes.

There was polka style dancing area that everyone could participate in.
Inside the big expo building there were displays of paintings and craft booths.  We have always loved the beautiful hydrangea paintings by a lady named Lizette Heinrich, and had previously purchased one for our apartment.  This artist had several of her paintings on display here, and we were able to meet the artist herself.
Kathlyn Egbert purchased the large painting on the bottom and posed with the artist.
We walked through the large exhibit hall with many booths of hand crafts for sale, then went back to our little apartment that we love, where you can see our hydrangea painting on the wall as well as other hydrangeas we have.

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