The Soundscape of Longshan Temple

I’ve visited Longshan a few times in the past and have always found it engaging as it’s always busy with people praying, making offerings, lighting josticks, or like me and a dozen other tourists, marveling at the architectural details and the unfolding scene of worshippers.

This afternoon, I headed to the underground mall at Longshan MRT in the hope of finding a wooden clapper called pai ban.  The shops at the mall were stocked with various religious items none of which were what I wanted.  I headed to the temple instead and found myself immersed in a sonic landscape of Buddhist chanting punctuated by percussion instruments. 

The entire inner complex reverberated with the chant as people lined the pathways and the space fronting the main hall.  They were reading from little red books.

As I drew closer to the main hall, the chanting grew deeper and more resonant as the inner hall reverberated.  Inside, women in brown robes led the chanting.

This was no static religious service, however.  People continued to come and go while the chantimg continued like a drone that seemed to make the people’s actions even more meaningful.

The chanting ended around 5pm about an hour since I arrived.  The people broke-up and an old guy collected the little red books. 

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