If you didn’t already know, in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County, California sits the largest buddhist temple in the western hemisphere, the Hsi Lai Temple, aptly named to mean “Coming to the West Temple”. It’s a major community center with workshops, summer camps, Chinese school, daycare, and even its own university. There’s also a vegetarian buffet and a tea house on site as well as a museum. The whole place is quite beautiful, and every time I visit, there always seems to be a soft breeze floating through the place no matter how hot the heat wave hitting the Southland.
So when I went to Kaohsiung, I had to stop by the Fo Guang Shan Temple, which is basically the main base buddhist organization that Hsi Lai Temple sprouted from. The place has a sort of grandiose ancient aliens feel to it. Luckily, we were there on a cloudy day, which really gave the place a celestial ambiance.
Although there was no photography allowed in some places inside, there was plenty to photograph.
The large buddha statue is supposedly the largest golden buddha statue in Asia.
To get to it, there are the proverbial stairs to climb.
From the top of the pyramid building, there’s another breathtaking view of the complex from above.
The grounds are full of picturesque walkways, statues, and donors walls.
Inside the main building is a buddhist educational center, museum, and worship spaces, but unfortunately, that’s where photography was not allowed. It’s all pretty educational for anyone interested in learning more about buddhist culture and religion.
Each pagoda along the main walkway apparently has some sort of specialty focus. The one that I found the most interesting was the chapel complete with advertisements encouraging young couples to have their weddings here. The reason it was interesting to me was not because I was lookin’ to find a place to get hitched; it amused me instead because it really had this Vegas Elvis chapel feel to it, except it’s at a buddhist temple.
Next up, last temple stop, Baguashan in central Taiwan.