Splendid Structures: Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Buddha Temple

For posts on all structures such as temples, churches and building I have come across, go here.

Prologue: A series that showcases the beautiful temples and churches I visit in my travels or I accidentally come across while taking an off-beaten path. And sometimes yes, I would include buildings and palaces too.

As promised in my Amalaki Ekadasi post, here I am writing about the Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Buddha Temple in Hacienda Heights in California that I visited during my recent trip there. It is a spiritual place to practice Buddhism and Chinese culture. Built in 1988, Hsi Lai means “Coming to the West” and signifies the dedication of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order to spread the teachings of the Buddha to those in the West.

It’s a beautiful a peaceful place encompassing 15 acres of land on a small hill like area. Everything you see inside and outside there is catered to traditional style of Chinese monasteries from the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

The Main Shrine is not seen immediately as you have to pass through the Bodhisattva Hall and the Courtyard. This temple dedicates this to Sakyamuni Buddha, who possessed the heroic qualities of unsurpassed wisdom, virtue, compassion, and the power to subdue evils.

We couldn’t take the pictures inside, so here we are outside in front of the Main Shrine where we could light and place an incense stick in the huge burner behind us. A couple of monks spoked to us. They were courteous and patient with our questions. And one them said that we dressed really well and respected their wishes. 🙂

We saw the Arhat Garden to one side of the Main Shrine where Eighteen Arhats – disciples of Buddha who understood and live the teachings of Buddha.

There is a beautiful Avalokitesvara Garden dedicated to Avalokitesvara (Guanyin) Bodhisattva is seated on a giant rock with her youthful attendants, Shancai and Longnu, standing beside her. She is surrounded by four Deva Kings, a beautiful waterfall flows through this landscape.

We didn’t get to see the Dining Hall, Meditation Hall, Tea Room & Bookstore as they were closed. But we saw the Art Gallery depicting the rich collection of various Buddhist artifacts as well as showcasing works of various contemporary artists. On the way to the Art Galley we saw idols/statues of various Buddhas on the walk way. We see beautiful architecture at every turn there.

Interestingly enough the ariel view of the entire temple shows that it is constructed in the form of a leaf, specifically the lead of a Bodhi Tree. Impressive.

The temple has a symbolic gate listing the four universal vows of Buddhists on the back of the gate.

We saw the setting moon while coming out of the temple.

And the magnificent sunset while driving back home.

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