Taiwan D5: Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center

Buddhism is one of the religions which I respect as it has sophisticated philosophical roots.

Fo Guang Shan is one of the largest Buddhist organizations with deep Mahāyāna tradition. In 1998, upon receiving one of the last remaining tooth relics of Gautama Buddha from Tibet, the organization began to erect the Buddha Memorial Center so that the public could pay their respects. It was finally opened to public in 2011.

The Buddha Memorial Center is a great cultural experience for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. Once again, I didn’t get to taste much of the cultural experience due to time shortage and language barrier. But even then, the whole place is a modern masterpiece.

Everything here looks huge. Wall carvings with visual narration of Gautama Buddha’s life and beautiful statues are spread throughout the Memorial Center’s 100 hectares. And it looks like some top graduates with an arts degree must have masterminded the planning of this Memorial Center, because everything looks seriously fab.

We were welcomed with majestic lion and white elephant statues that guard the Memorial Center. Lions are common in most temples as Buddha’s teachings are referred to as “Lion’s Roar”, which is indicative of their strength and power. It’s refreshing to see the rarer usage of elephants, though, which represents mental strength and calm majesty.

After going through the Welcoming Hall, we saw eight pagodas—eight ridiculously gorgeous orange pagodas greatly contrasted against the blue sky. The pagodas represent Noble Eightfold Path, a principal Buddha teaching that leads mankind towards the cessation of suffering (dukkha): right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. Inside the pagodas are exhibitions, reading halls, etc.

Behind the pagodas stand a giant Amitabha Buddha at 108 meters high, which is surrounded by four stupas representing the Four Noble Truths (i.e. the truth of dukkha, the truth of the origin of dukkha, the truth of the cessation of dukkha and the truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha).

There are many other things in the Buddha Memorial Center, but most of the indoor areas do not allow photography.

I don’t usually enjoy visiting religious sites, but Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center has certainly exceeded my expectations in so many ways.

If you’re interested to visit this attraction, you can book a trip to Fo Guang Shan here.

Do you have any favorite religious sites? Share with us on the comment box below.

Next post: Scenic East Coast ride towards Taitung, one of the three things I couldn’t wait to do in Taiwan.

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