Buddha Digs Basketball

In spite of our sore throats, we spent the afternoon wandering around the Beijing Summer palace. We entered from the north and crossed a little bridge over a serene river lined with traditional buildings. Having no expectations or knowledge of the summer palace, I was constantly surprised as we emerged from the path to find an idyllic structure plucked from history. On the south side of the garden we began climbing the stairs, through the living quarters of the royal family, up to the Temple of Buddhist Virtue that sits facing south toward Beijing. The view over the lake toward the city skyline is appropriately divine. Inside the temple a dilapidated statue of Buddha guards a pile of incense and a glass cabinet of souvenirs. Inside the souvenir case lie an array of prayer beads and small Buddhist statues. On the far end of the souvenir case there are a small selection of NBA basketball collectors cards. Kobe Bryant features prominently in the Buddha’s modest collection.

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