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Travel Guide > Asia > Taiwan > Sights & Attractions

Foguangshan

  
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Established in 1967 on what was then a hillside covered by thorny bushes, Foguangshan (佛光山) has grown into one of Taiwan's best known Buddhist monasteries. In architectural terms, the complex is slightly disappointing if you've seen the breathtaking Chung Tai Chan Monastery, yet as a place where visitors can learn about Buddhism as it's practiced in Taiwan, Foguangshan is second to none.

Foguangshan's founder, Venerable Master Hsing Yun (星雲大師, b1927) set four broad objectives for the order, which now has more than 200 branches in Taiwan and overseas. These goals are: Propagating Buddhism through culture; purifying human minds through Buddhist practice; fostering talent through education; and benefiting society through charitable action. The monastery is one of the island's most popular religious attractions, so try to come on a weekday. Visitor numbers lept again following the opening in 2012 of the Buddha Memorial Center.

If you call a few days in advance (ext 6205) you'll be assigned an English-speaking monk or nun who can give you a guided tour lasting up to half a day. Such tours are free, but donations are welcomed. It's possible to stay overnight in the monastery. Private rooms with air-con cost NT$2,000 per night; guests can't consume meat, alcohol or tobacco.

Whether you stay for only an hour or an entire day, try to take in four highlights. The interior of the Main Shrine is sublime; the Buddhist Museum and the Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery have informative and attractive displays; and the Pure Land Cave – a depiction of the Buddhist paradise – is memorably kitschy.

There are English-language map boards and signs throughout the complex.

Directions

From north or south Taiwan, take Freeway 3 then Freeway 10. Leave Freeway 10 at the Lingkou Interchange at km22 and then head south on Highway 21. The monastery is at km285. Buses leave Kaohsiung HSR Station every between 8.10am and 5.10pm and take about 50 minutes; one-way fare is NT$56. There are also several services daily from Kaohsiung TRA Station and Qishan, and around five per day from central Tainan.

Type: Monument/Building
Costs: free
Location: Taiwan
Street address: Dashu District, Kaohsiung City
Nearest public transport: Foguangshan bus stop
Opening hours: Daily 8am-5.30pm
Telephone: +88676561921
Email: fgs6205@fgs.org.tw







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