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This is a Buddhist temple in Japan called a pagoda. Pagodas have five tiers representing Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Emptiness. The spire at the top symbolizes wisdom reaching above the physical world. Buddhism Spread east from India to China and Japan.
The foot symbolizes the teaching of Buddah, following in his footsteps so-to-speak.
This is a monk wearing traditional monk's clothes. Monks lead simple lives, living in the sangha, or community of monks. The conical hat provides shade from the sun. Meditation is a central part of the life of a monk. Monks beg for food and alms as they have given up worldly possessions. in some Buddhist contries it is customary for young boys to spend some time living in a monastery as part of their training and education.
The eight-spoked wheel represents the Eightfold path, steps to enlightenment, which teach a way of living that lead to nirvana or enlightenment. The center symbol suggests the lotus follower. The lotus flower.
Buddha whose name means "awakened one" discovered and taught his followers the path to enlightenment.

This web site attempts to introduce young people to the wonder and diversity of the world's religions and spiritual traditions. We have tried to present simple, straight forward, accurate information about the world's five major religions and many other smaller religions and spiritual traditions. We recognize the complexity and challenges of this task. Please feel free to email us at [email protected] with your suggestions.

© 2002 United Religions Initiative