Yes! Sad but true, this is the final stop on the Central Jersey Road Trip tour! But…do not fear! Because there are still so many things to see in central jersey that were closed due to weather, time of year, etc. AND….I’m already planning out the Road Trip South Jersey edition! My parents live in South Jersey and since they are going to celebrate Memorial Day, I figured I would road trip the day before and just end the trip there that night. Pretty clever huh? I’m super excited for this trip, as I was looking at the map it looks like there are going to be so many more strange things this time around. I grew up in south jersey…so I’m not really surprised, but this trip is a lot more spread out so hopefully I can get all the good stuff done in one day.
But back to my last stop in Princeton! I went to 12 years of Catholic school, but I have always been in love eastern religious art. I love all art but lotus blossoms and the depictions of beautiful gods and goddesses in eastern art just always takes my breath away. I find it so peaceful and beautiful. Even though I grew up Catholic I actually try to meditate at least once a week just to clear my mind of distractions and sit in peace with myself. The last stop on this whirlwind tour was a perfect choice: The Large Buddha in the backyard of New Jersey Buddhist Vihara and Meditation Center. What better way to end my long trip than with such a beautiful and peaceful sight.
I didn’t know that I only had to go down the street from my favorite sushi place to see it, but that’s really the beauty of New Jersey, things are hidden where you’ve already been, sometimes you just need to know they’re there. I found that a lot in my travels, so many things was just down the street from places I spend so much time at already, I just never knew they were there. This Buddha sits in the backyard of the meditation center, along with a few other statues. It always seems to be open, you can just pull into the driveway and park in the backyard. There is a donation box for the upkeep of the statue and if you are going to step onto the tiles close to the statue, please remove your shoes out of respect. I was left awestruck at the bright white giant statue in front of me, and in truth, I don’t think the pictures came even close to capturing it’s majesty.
I felt a bit honored to have the chance to sit in front of the statue in silence for a bit, even if I felt a little awkward, just being in someone’s backyard. It truly was the most perfect way to end the day and when I left, I felt energized and relaxed. There are two statues off to the right, though I wasn’t about to go traipsing all around barefoot (it was starting to get so cold out!), nor was I about to cause any disrespect just to get a lousy shot, so I respectfully took shots from far away.
I can’t wait until I finish traveling all around New Jersey. I plan on putting together a book of these pictures and who knows, maybe when I’m done, I’ll expand to other states nearby. I hope these trips inspire you to get out there and explore your state and all the bizarre and amazing things it has to offer.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
― Mark Twain.