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Yonghe Temple

Spent the afternoon wandering through the Yonghegong, or Lama Temple, the largest lamasery in Beijing and one of the most important monastic centers of the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. Truly an amazing place (thx, Yao). Of all the exquisite Buddhist art found here, my favorite is the 26 m tall statue of Maitreya Buddha carved from a single piece of white sandalwood. And, of course, the two fierce lions that guard the entrance to the temple complex. The male lion (first below) is on the right, while the female (second below) guards the left side. Under the long claws of the female's left paw is a young cub that she appears to be tickling. 


Off to Guizhou tomorrow to continue fieldwork on the Miao land-use project. [NOTE: As was explained by a prominent sign, the large sandalwood statue of Maitreya Buddha is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records].

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