Taiwan | Fo Guang Shan, the largest Buddhist monastery

I slept one night in Fo Guang Shan monastery. In the evening I took part in a ceremony of chanting monks and the next day I joined a grand tour of the premises and practiced calligraphy. Later that day I paid a visit to the imposing Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum.

New religious movement

Fo Guang Shan is an international Chinese Buddhist monastic order and new religious movement based in Taiwan. The headquarters of Fo Guang Shan, located in Kaohsiung, is the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. The organization is also one of the largest charity organizations in Taiwan.

Humanistic Buddhism

Founded in 1967 by Hsing Yun, the order promotes Humanistic Buddhism and is known for its efforts in the modernization of Chinese Buddhism. The order is famous for its use of technology and its temples are often furnished with the latest equipment. Hsing Yun’s stated position for Fo Guang Shan is that it is an “amalgam of all Eight Schools of Chinese Buddhism”.

In Taiwan, Hsing Yun is popularly referred to as one of the “Four Heavenly Kings” and Fo Guang Shan is considered one of the “Four Great Mountains” or four major Buddhist organizations of Taiwanese Buddhism.

Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum

The adjacent Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum houses one of the tooth relics of Sakyamuni Buddha, the founder of the Buddhist faith. Beyond the Welcoming Hall are eight Chinese-styled pagodas on either side of the main avenue leading up to the Bodhi Square. The path leads onto the Memorial Hall, which holds several shrines including the Jade Buddha Shrine. Above the hall are four stupas that symbolize the Four Noble Truths. Standing behind but separate from it, there is an enormous seated metal Shakyamuni Buddha 108 meters high.