Temple talk: Fo Guang Shan, Auckland


Temple talk: Fo Guang Shan, Auckland Temple talk: Fo Guang Shan, Auckland
Temple talk: Fo Guang Shan, Auckland Temple talk: Fo Guang Shan, Auckland
Temple talk: Fo Guang Shan, Auckland Temple talk: Fo Guang Shan, Auckland
Temple talk: Fo Guang Shan, Auckland Temple talk: Fo Guang Shan, Auckland
Temple talk: Fo Guang Shan, Auckland Temple talk: Fo Guang Shan, Auckland

MCD checks out the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple in Auckland

Temple talk

When I first sighted the jaw-dropping Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple complex, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was still in Auckland and had not been mysteriously dropped somewhere in the middle of Asia.

An imposing set of steps introduces a cavernous foyer presided over by the figure of the unpronounceable Avalokitesvara Bodhisattava, the embodiment of compassion.

Impressive wooden doors lead from there to a sprawling courtyard, paved with a chequerboard of concrete and mondo grass and bordered by concrete lanterns, avenues of blossom trees, and Zen gardens that harbour statues of novice monks. Through a loud hailer, a monk was issuing instructions on the art of meditation to a mob of schoolchildren seated on the ground.

The main temple, a serenely proportioned building adapted from the palatial architecture of the Tang Dynasty, spans the courtyard’s width. The main shrine houses the towering statue of Sakuamuri Buddha carved from a single block of white jade and swathed in gold cloth. He is set against a high wall of basalt rock imprinted with hundreds of Buddha images. His legs are folded into each other at such an acute angle that a mere mortal would have been in agony, but Sahyamuri looks pleased and relaxed as he gazes down on the faithful.

I prowled though the art gallery, the calligraphy displays, the life story of Venerable Master Hsing Yun, founder of this temple, and many others.

To one side of the complex is a pagoda tower of white stone rising up from descending walls of running water.

Water is one of the themes. The delightful vegetarian restaurant next to the entrance hall is called the Water Drop Café. Eating a dish of fried bean curd (delicious) served with kumquat tea, I contemplated the importance of serenity and hoped I could take some of it from here into the wider world.

Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple is at 16 Stancombe Rd, Flat Bush, Manukau Auckland. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9am to 5pm. There is plenty of parking for motorhomes.  

Jill Malcolm is a former editor of Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations and author of the Great Kiwi Motorhome Guide   

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