You must pass by a row of tourist shops from the cable car stop on Lantau Island in Hong Kong before you get to the monastery or the statue of the Buddha.
The crowds of people from all over the world can be intense (though I didn’t really catch many people in this photo!). And I really don’t like crowds. I know I felt some moments of judgement on the day I took this photo. I wondered if people understood the significance of the place, or if they just wanted a selfie with a big statue. I felt annoyance as other people were impatient with long lines to get back on the cable car and with the workers who were managing as best as they could. Getting angry about it doesn’t make the line move any faster. I felt conflicted at the commercialization and cheap (or not-so-cheap) trinkets of the tourist shops.
On the flip side, what an opportunity to practice the tenets of the teacher whose image you’re there to see. More frequently than the moments of judgement for me were moments of simply enjoying the day and the company of a dear friend I hadn’t seen in 6 years. Moments of seeing a few unexpected young cows and saying hello. Moments of sharing a cool drink on a beautiful day.
Moments of breathing in and being present.
So grateful for that. And perhaps even more grateful that I can acknowledge the moments of judgement without beating myself up for having them.