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Buddhism is one the most popular and interesting religions. It can be traced back to 563 B.C.E. with the birth of Siddhartha Guatama, who is more commonly known as the Buddha, or the Awakened One. The story of Siddhartha Guatama and how he came to be known as the Buddha is very interesting. The religion of Buddhism is one of the oldest and most significant, which is why I chose to visit the Byodo-In Buddhist Temple in the Valley of the Temples on the windward side of the Ko’olau mountain range.

When I first arrived at the Buddhist Temple in the Valley of the Temples, the first thing I took notice of was the graveyard. The tombstones were very elegant. Most of the tombstones were black in color and had gold inscriptions. The black color is representing death while the gold color signifies purity.

The first experience I had at the temple was ringing the bell. The bell alone was amazing. It is a replica of the original temple bell. It is a five foot, three ton brass Peace Bell. When rung its sound is very low in pitch, and can be heard from a good distance away. The sound sends a message of peace, calamity, and spiritual cleansing. Ringing the bell to announce your arrival is said to bring good fortune, and cleanses the mind of evil and temptation.

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The book Les Miserables star character, Jean Valjean, is very unique, ideal person. The way he views his surroundings and the way he goes about living is very indescribably different than any of the characters in this book. The world he lives in is a very strict and harsh one, but he still finds a way to survive it all very sufficiently. He gives himself rules and ways to abide with, he falls in and out of loving life, and he is very strong and has the will to fight for what he feels is right. Jean Valjean lives his own life, the one he wants to lead and live and he lets nothing get in the way of that. Even though this character seems unrealistic in a lot of ways, he is realistic to me. Anything can be possible in life.

People come and go in Jean Valjeans life forming him more and more into this great person. The first time this happened was when he was let out of prison on the street after nineteen years. Jean Valjean went from place to place trying to find a place to stay and eat. He was turned away of every place he went to. After this he became hardened; there was nothing left good in the world, it was the world against him. He then found himself at a bishop's home. Where he stayed, then he stole the bishops silver, left and then got caught. When the police brought him back to the bishop, the bishop tells them that he gave Jean Valjean the silver. The bishop then tells Jean Valjean this, "Jean Valjean, my brother: you belong no longer to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I am buying for you" (39). With this, he left and promised to become an honest man with the silver the bishop gave him. This helped open his eyes and become less of a hardened person.

There are not very many people in this world that are like Jean Valjean. He stands out on his own, he is strong. The things that he has been through have shaped who he is. When people go through hard times it opens their eyes and makes them more aware of what life is and what u have to go through to become the person you want to be in life. The author Victor Hugo depicts this very well in this book with Jean Valjean. When he is out of the prison, he is still hated upon and torn after. Just because he stole food for his family, that he didn't have enough money for, so they wouldn't starve. He is looked at as a convict and someone who is evil. Jean Valjean didn't deserve this label one bit at all. He was doing a good deed and he didn't deserve what he got. To go through a day-to-day basis of being hated or being under a disguise that you did not deserve would be hard. Jean Valjean is a strong person for still living his life the best he can. There should be more people like him.

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