Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Kaohsiung

fo guang shan buddha memorial compound kaohsiung taiwan


              Koahsiung might be the Heart of southern Taiwan, but it doesn’t have a lot to offer to a would-be tourist.  That being said it is worth a visit if only to go see the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Complex.  


dome of light kaohsiung taiwan
Dome of Light


              Koahsiung, located in the southwestern corner of Taiwan, is its second largest city and also has a fairly extensive public transportation system.  The city has two subway lines that create a cross through town (with one that circles town currently in construction) and an extensive bus system that is currently free (I have been told that it is only free till the other subway line is finished though).  At the intersection of the two subway lines is one of the only tourist attractions in the town proper; the largest glass moral in the world named the ‘Dome of Light.’


buddha statues main temple fo guang shan kaohsiung taiwan
Buddha statues in the main temple


              Besides the Dome of Light and a few creative parks there is not much reason to visit Koahsiung city itself, but it is still a must travel to point for anyone wanting to see the best of Taiwan for one reason, the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Complex.  This complex is the largest temple complex in Taiwan and is a wonder to see.  It is split into two parts, the Buddha Memorial and the temple compound.  


giant buddha atop memorial kaohsiung taiwan
Giant Buddha above the memorial

fo guang shan memorial compound kaohsiung taiwan
Pathway of the Fo Guang Shan Memorial Compound from the museum



              Stepping off the bus I was amazed at the size of it all.  I knew that there was a large Buddha statue there but expecting it to be within a compound the size of those I had seen before was not prepared for grandeur and size of the compound I was just dropped off at.  Walking through the main building leading to the Buddha Memorial I was thrown off by the fact that it was full of shops and expensive restaurants; not what I expected at the entrance to a memorial.  Once I entered the memorial compound I was astonished at the scale of it all.  The large pathway leading to the Buddha is lined by four large pagodas and ends at the memorial with the large Buddha statue towering high above.  The memorial building itself is well worth visiting, as it has various museums (including one about the underground palaces) and three smaller temples (Jade Buddha, Golden Buddha, and Avalokitesvara Shrines) within it.  


sutra repository fo guang shan kaohsiung taiwan
Sutra Repository


              The temple compound is equally astounding and was made up of a series of temples, gardens, and living areas.  On the mountain side overlooking both the memorial compound and main temple complex is the Sutra Repository, which houses over 50 editions of Buddhists cannons.


jade buddha temple fo guang shan buddha memorial kaohsiung taiwan
Jade Buddha Temple

golden buddha temple fo guang shan buddha memorial kaohsiung taiwan
Golden Buddha Temple

main temple hall fo guang shan kaohsiung taiwan
Prayer outside the main temple

large buddha statue buddha land fo guang shan kaohsiung taiwan
Large Buddha statue in the Buddha Land section


              Across from the Sutra Repository is the main temple complex.  Upon entering I was surprised at the size and beauty of both the compound itself and of all the temples inside.  The compound, among other buildings, had Jade and Golden Buddha temples (each of which had walls studded with Buddha statues made of either jade or gold), a large main temple with a large foyer leading to it, and another large Buddha statue at the height of the mountain circled by smaller Buddha statues.


lit pathway fo guang shan kaohsiung taiwan
Lit pathway at the main temple


              Having gotten a late start on our way to the temple complex we arrived in the afternoon.  This did not allow us a whole lot of time, but it did allow us to see the complex both by day and night.  At night the whole place is lit up and is stunning to see.  That being said, I do suggest allotting a whole day for this excursion as there is a lot to see apart from just the buildings and temples.  Many of the areas also have shows and food to enjoy; something I wish I would have had more time to experience.  

Getting There


From the High-speed Railway Station, you can take the 8501 or 8010 bus directly there. 

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