While I was in Shanghai, I spent half a day in and around Jing’an Temple, a key site of contemporary Han Buddhism in China.
This is a fascinating place for many reasons, but what I found most interesting were the everyday details—from the feel of architectural materials and their accompanying visual flourishes to the smell of incense and the sounds of visitors lobbing yuan coins into the central metal tower.
If you regularly read this blog, then you’re possibly aware of my ongoing multisensory ethnography of Eucharistic Adoration practices. Perhaps out of researcherly habit, I found myself zeroing in on Buddhist analogues while I was at Jing’an Temple, taking many photos of the seemingly small, often fleeting and sensory everyday details that help make a sacred space sacred.
What we often overlook, though, are the details that make everyday spaces what they are. We can extrapolate from these exemplary spaces, I think, and look at quotidian spaces in new ways.