World Religions Comes Alive: A Visit to a Buddhist Temple

Miki C. ’26 had a unique opportunity during Spring Break to make connections to her World Religions class! Poly introduced World Religions as a required history course for ninth graders in the fall of 2020. The course covers five religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For the fall Block Day, students research and present on one of many Buddhist temples worldwide.

On a trip to Japan with her family, Miki visited her temple: the Sensojī in Tokyo. Miki wrote, "Visiting the temple I already knew a lot about was an eye-opening experience. I enjoyed experiencing the customs and rituals I previously researched because I could immerse myself in the cultural distinctions of Buddhist temples rather than simply reading about them on a screen. Undoubtedly, learning online can’t compare to the beauty of visiting in person. I 'purified' myself before entering the temple using the ladle in the fountain, ate delicious daifuku mochi from the Nakamise shopping street, and determined my fortune. I paid a small amount of money to randomly choose one from a box, hoping the result would be good. In fact, I got the best fortune!"

Miki’s teacher, Katie Schuhl, said, "This experience is exactly what we are hoping the course will do: connect students to the rest of the world in a concrete way and acquaint them with the everyday religious practices that infuse so many cultures."