我是信佛 (I am a Buddhist)

我是信佛
Wǒ shi xìn Fó.
I am a Buddhist.

René was at a Buddhist temple on the weekend and had written down some temple vocabulary in his notebook. The words he wrote down included:

香炉
xiānglú
incense burner

佛珠
Fózhū
prayer beads

法轮
fǎlún
prayer wheel

和尚
héshang
monk

道士
Dàoshi
Taoist monk

尼姑
nígū
nun

烧香
shāoxiāng
burn incense

香台
xiāngtái
incense holder

René had learned that in Chinese there are a number of ways to say temple, but each of these words had very distinct meanings:

寺sì, Buddhist temple.
观guān, Taoist temple.
庙 miào, a generic term for temple, shrine or joss house.

我信佛 literary means ‘I believe in Buddha. 是 can be inserted after the subject 我 for emphasis:

我是信佛。

I am a Buddhist. That is, I am a Buddhist (emphasizing that you are a Buddhist and not a Christian.

Here is another example of 是 used for emphasis.

Compare the following:

我明天走。
I am leaving tomorrow.

我是明天走。

I am going tomorrow (emphasizing that it is tomorrow and not tonight or the day after tomorrow).

At the Buddhist temple, René watched people burning long sticks of incense and doing their prayers. The smoke from the incense sticks seemed to carry their prayers to a spiritual realm.

When René got back to his apartment, he consulted his dictionaries and added the following setences in his notebook:

我是基督徒。
Wǒ shi Jīdùjiàotú.
I am a Christian.

我是佛教徒。
Wǒ xìn Fójiàotú.
I am a Buddhist.

我是天主教徒。
Wǒ shi Tiānzhǔjiàotú.
I am a Catholic.

我是无神论者。
Wǒ shi wúshénlùnzhě.
I am an atheist.

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