Fo Guang Shan Monastery: Taiwan's Largest Buddhist Monastery
Fo Guang Shan Monastery provides you with a restful respite from the hustle and bustle of the nearby city. The grounds are beautiful with none like them in the world. One intriguing element of this monastery is the 400-foot, gold statue of Buddha.
If you love history and culture Fo Guang Shan Monastery is a wonderful location for you to visit, particularly if you enjoy unique locations, want to take beautiful photographs, like to walk, enjoy seeing Buddhist statues, and are willing to respect the culture and beliefs of other people.
The monastery has a different feel than the rest of the area in that it's very peaceful and restful, so it could be a nice break from the rest of your trip.
About the Monastery
Fo Guang Shan Monastery, which means "Buddha's Light Mountain," is the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan and is part of the international Chinese Mahayana Buddhist order, with more than 200 chapters around the world.
It's also part of one of the largest charities in Taiwan. When you visit it, you'll see some of the nation's largest temples, a museum, a meditation center and a university. The area is peaceful, surrounded by green forests and interspersed with 10,000 beautiful Buddhist statues.
The structure is relatively new, they first started building it in 1967. Outside of the main temple, several smaller temples, including the Great Hero Hall, were built.
How to Get There
The temple is located just outside Kaohsiung, the second largest city in Taiwan, near Tashu Village. Kaohsiung is located in southwestern Taiwan. You can drive on your own or take the Kaohsiung bus bound for Qishan, Meinong, Liugui or Jiaxian to Fo Guang Shan Monastery.
If you drive take the National Highway 1 to the Qishan Interchange, turn onto County Road 186 to Linkou, then take Provincial Highway 31 via Linkou Bridge the rest of the way to the monastery.
When You Go
When you go to the monastery, be prepared for a unique cultural and religious experience. Be wiling to respect any monastics you might meet and respect the locals who strongly believe in their faith.
Dress appropriately, which includes being modest by not showing your legs or baring your arms and bringing a head scarf to wear if you are a women. Cover yourself at least to the knees. In Buddhist temples, you're expected to take off your shoes, so consider wearing slip-ons that you can easily take on and off.
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I updated this article on November 26, 2012
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