From Cascade Springs to Lake Lanier, water is a crucial element connecting people to their faith

By Hannah Palmer
Atlanta Magazine
April 21, 2023

What’s exciting about the oranges in Utoy Creek and the crowds at Osun Fest is what they reveal about the ways communities are connecting with our creeks and rivers in their spiritual practices today.

How many other faith traditions engage with Atlanta’s creeks? Looking for evidence on Facebook, I came across a video from Trairatanaram Temple near Riverdale of monks hosing down a very large, very feisty common snapping turtle in a parking lot last spring. They maneuvered the turtle into a plastic tub and carried it down to the sandy creekbank under a bridge, and with some chanting and gongs, tipped the beast into the water. Wat Dhamma, a temple in nearby Stockbridge, also hosts an annual ceremony for releasing frogs or turtles into their pond as a practice of meta (loving kindness) and karona (compassion). “Loving kindness and compassion are the two pillars of life on earth, upon which we build happiness,” said Vankosal Chhay, Wat Dhamma’s lead monk. (In Chinese Buddhism, a similar tradition is known as fang sheng, or “release life.”)

Read the full article here.