Saturday morning, the MTC group headed down to Chinatown to visit the Mahayana Buddhist Temple on Canal Street. A staff member gave us a brief tour of the temple, answering questions about Buddhist customs, Siddartha Gautama (Buddha), the prayer practices we observed of entering guests, and even the little things like the meaning of the oranges seen on offering plates all around the temple.
Separately, we discussed similarities between the lives of Siddhartha and Christ. For instance, they both began their ministries in their 30's, both received a great prophecy at their birth, and both would be found fasting and meditating. We also discussed the differences in their lives, such as the fact that one was born of great wealth and the other not, and doctrines, such as resurrection versus rebirth.
Afterwards, we walked a couple blocks to order dumplings from Prosperity Dumplings. It was an authentic but small establishment--so small that only one of us could fit inside to order. But it was worth the effort--at 5 dumplings for a dollar, we feasted on well over 100 dumplings as a group! The weather was cold but the dumplings were just hot enough that we could all enjoy each other's company, laugh, and appreciate a great way to kick off our Saturday.