Taiwan Heritage: The Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum



Although it may appear small on the globe, Taiwan is a country that is rich in heritage and history. Located above the Philippines, this country is divided into 12 administrative districts and features a cultural, religious and educational museum which is the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum. The museum is associated with Fo Guang Shan which is one of Taiwan’s largest Buddhist organizations. It also covers an area of more than 100 hectares in the city of Kaohsiung.


Photo Courtesy of Living Nomads

Visitors of the museum would first see two statues on their left and right before proceeding to the main entrance. An adult elephant can be found on the right side that is guiding a group of small elephants. In Buddhism, the elephant represents noble dignity. The reason being that the Buddha sat on a white elephant into his mother’s womb. The elephant also symbolizes the birthday of the Buddha when he came down to the human world.

On the left side is a large lion that is encircled by cubs. The lion represents the fearlessness and majesty of the Buddha according to numerous Buddhist teachings. “Lion’s roar” is the term for the sound of the Buddha preaching teachings (Dharma) which can awaken living beings from dreams. Afterwards, they can truly be themselves by finally understanding their lives as they have been awakened.



Photo Courtesy of Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum Website

Tourists can find an information desk giving them many things such as general information, event schedules, luggage service, currency exchange and maps. Stores can also be found and it has the only vegetarian Starbucks in the globe.

There are eight pagodas that each measure 38 meters high and are designed in Chinese pagoda style. The first one is known as the One Teaching Pagoda that provides a multi-functional space for meetings and activities. Renting of the pagoda is also available to the public. The second pagoda is called Two Assemblies Pagoda in which children can have fun with interactive games. Three Goodness Pagoda serves as a joint office that contains a meeting room and guest halls. For those who love reading, the Four Givings Pagoda houses a bookstore with different books and multimedia publishing by Fo Guang Shan.



Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The fifth pagoda is called Five Harmonies Pagoda and is a place for celebrations such as Buddhist weddings, baby blessing ceremonies and birthdays. The five harmonies talk about: 1) personal harmony that is achieved through joy, (2) interpersonal harmony through respect, (3) family harmony through deference, (4) social harmony through cooperation and (5) world harmony through peace.

The Six Perfection Pagoda meanwhile displays Venerable Master’s One-Stroke Calligraphy. The seventh pagoda touches on the five precepts against killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, gambling and violence; it is called the Seven Admonishment Pagoda wherein visitors can have a resting place for relaxation. The last pagoda is called the Eightfold Path Pagoda and gives a brief introduction to the Buddha Museum.



Photo Courtesy of Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum Website

After the 8 pagodas, visitors can see the Mount Potalaka Avalokitesvara Shrine which was sculpted by Loretta Yang Huishan. It has 33 images of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva who is the earthly manifestation of the Buddha Amitabha. Last but not the least is the main attraction which is the Fo Guang Big Buddha which is the world’s largest copper-cast Buddha statue. It measures 108 meters tall from its base to the tip.


Photo Courtesy of Nick Kembel

By knowing about this place of heritage, Taiwan truly is rich not only in culture but in religion as they have a place such as the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum that caters for both Buddhists and those who want to learn about Buddhism.

References:

Britannica
Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum website
Google Arts and Culture

Written by Jan Marbella

Jan Marbella is a Digital Marketing Intern of PS Media Enterprise and a 4th year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student of De La Salle University DasmariƱas.

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OBRAA.org: Taiwan Heritage: The Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum
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