Posted by: jyunbugspeaks | May 1, 2012

Jyunbugspeaks in Taiwan: Fo Guang Shan Memorial Center

We are now in Dashu, Kaohsiung visiting the Great Buddha at the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center. Just like the giant Buddha at Lantau Island in Hong Kong this enormous structure is also located in a remote area of Kaohsiung. As you can see the area is very wide and the length of which is about 4 football fields. There are 8 pagodas, 4 on each side of this spacious compound. Each pagoda representing the many teachings of Buddhism and its infinite ways. Along our walk we encountered many monks as they meditated or took the time to explain what was displayed in front of us. There was a section in the main hall that housed the shrines of The Golden Buddha, The Jade Buddha and its real tooth relic and the Avalokitesvara. All three shrines were very sacred so no pictures were permitted and proper attire was paramount out of respect.

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Even though this place took 13 years to construct initially (which is pretty fast considering the sheer size of it) the place is forever morphing and adapting to cater to this modern society yet maintains and vigorously holds onto its core beliefs. Without getting too deep into religion the buddhist way seems to be so free without the heavy burdens or restrictions of so many religions. I saw this on the wall and it seems so true and utterly fresh. I could be wrong but personally I think it’s cool and everyone should adopt it in their own way and spread its message. I know it’s kinda long but take the time to read this. It actually brought a smile to my face while I read it.

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It wasn’t too long before it was lunch time so because this area housed real life monks it was fitting that we ate at a vegetarian restaurant called Hi-Lai Vegetarian Restaurant located in the main lobby.

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The food was very good as they did wonders in mimicking the tastes and textures of meat. We started with a fresh house salad with a lemony vinaigrette, then moved to a Taiwanese savory pancake with mock BBQ pork. Very tasty and loads of flavor.

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Next came the main courses, well actually they were more like dim sum tasting samples of braised cabbage dumplings and sticky rice filled “Sui Mai”. Also a soup filled with mushrooms and veggies arrived along with long spring rolls, mock BBQ pork filled puff pastries and sautéed assortment of vegetables in a light soya sauce.

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Still more courses arrived and the next set included more dumplings filled with purple taro and bamboo shoots with mock fish as well as a green vegetable dish that had a crunchy texture but tasted unlike any vegetable I’ve ever tried. Regardless it was all good and well prepared and again I’m not a connoisseur of vegetarian cuisine but I would go back to try some more dishes, for sure.

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Food: 3 out of 5       Service: 4 out of 5        Atmosphere: 4 out of 5         Price: 3 out of 5

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