Daily Archives: April 19, 2013

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

Monday, March 4, 2013

We squeezed in our last sightseeing of Taiwan before returning home and visited Chung Tai Chan Monastery in Puli, Nantou County in Central Taiwan. My dad and I hopped on the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) from Zuoying Station to Taichung Station where we met with my dad’s friend and his family. The same fun family that took us sightseeing in Taipei – A Day in Taipei. The bullet train ride from Kaohsiung to Taichung was about one hour each way and the cost was about $50 USD per person round trip. Nantou County was about 40 minutes away from Taichung and it was a beautiful drive. There was barely any traffic, there were clean spacious highways, surrounded by mountains from both sides. Everything was very green and the sky was clear and blue. Temperature was a bit cooler than Kaohsiung but comfortable and refreshing.

Chung Tai Chan Monastery is a fairly new temple and was completed in September 2001 but construction took a decade long. It is considered the tallest Buddhist temple at almost 450 feet (or 135 meters) and second largest monastery in the world. The largest monastery is Fo Guang Shan. The construction of this monastery took so long because they were very meticulous about every material used and craftsmanship. For example, they collected marble from 15 different countries and imported pure teak for their seven story indoor pagoda. The pagoda was built in the traditional way, without metal nails and screws. We arrived too late so I didn’t get to see the famous indoor pagoda. (Remember what pagodas are? Lotus Pond Pagodas)

This temple is very different compared to Fo Guang ShanChun Tai Chan has a huge building with seven floors! The very entrance to the temple has these ginormous doors and inside, there are four gigantic statues at nearly 40 feet high (or 12 meters)! As tall as the doors! Everything inside is very big!

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

The entrance is called the Hall of the Four Heavenly Kings surrounding the future Buddha.

Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery

Then, as you walk up the stairs, you enter The Great Majestic Hall, which is one of three Buddha halls. It is a red granite statue of the transformation of Buddha.

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

Chung Tai Chan has a modern feel and the outside design reminds of a temple from the movie, Aladdin. The gardens are breathtaking – beautifully decorated, quiet, relaxing, and solitary.

Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery

I caught a couple of pictures of a nun while she was exercising/meditating? She saw me and walked away. Sorry! I couldn’t help myself, she seemed so in the moment and she was right below the elephant statue from my view…

Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery

There is also a bell you can ring. Unlike Xiqiao Mountain in China, they don’t charge you here or at Fo Guang Shan to ring the bell. We all rang it three times. We did it totally wrong though. I remember at Fo Guang Shan, everyone would first vow, close their eyes, chant something, and ring the bell. Hello, tourists! Yes, that would be us. Even locals can be part of the tourists haha

Chung Tai Chan Monastery Chung Tai Chan Monastery

Chung Tai Chan also has an amazing view of the mountains and there is a GIGANTIC Buddha statue that is clearly visible. The view is seriously unbelievable.

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

While we were there we met a couple of nuns and they were super duper friendly. They went out of their way to give us information on their California branch in Pomona: Middle Land Chan Monastery. I would love to go to their weekly classes but it’s over an hour away!

If interested or curious, this website explains Chung Tai Chan Monastery practices thoroughly: Chung Tai Zen Center of Sunnyvale.

After the monastery, we stopped by a delicious vegetarian restaurant that curves down the street. One of the people from the restaurant was passing out menu flyers at the parking lot and was very nice. The place didn’t disappoint, I fell in love with Taiwanese vegetarian food! So gooooood!

Well, I’ve been back to LA for a while now and I’m still eating meat. That’s a hard lifestyle change lol But I have the thoughts in my head… One day maybe?

Photo Nostalgia

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The day after we came back to Taiwan, we went shopping and spent quality time with everyone. I went through tons of old photos and I created a few collages. These photos are so precious. They are truly priceless.

I found a picture of my mom and dad when they were in about 18-20 years old. And here is me, a bit older than them but I thought it was interesting to see the resemblance.

mom dad me

Then, here is a black and white photo collage of my dad and his friends back in the day enjoying a picnic. Who would have thought? My dad never seemed the picnic sort of guy. He seems to be around 20-22 years old…

dad picnic

Then, my dad in his early 30’s. Already a daddy to three beautiful children, my three oldest siblings. This is around the time he met my mom. What a handsome couple they made : )

dad

I found photos of my siblings as babies. Sooo cute!!

First, there were two munchkins.

Love between sisters, priceless.

sisters

Angry oldest sister hahahaha My dad said she was annoyed and didn’t want to take a picture. Then my second oldest sister couldn’t see because of the glare and didn’t want to take a picture. So then, oldest sister is giving her the stink eye hahahahahaha

angry sisters

Then, there were three munchkins.

park siblings

Their innocence was lost and the three of them became a scary neighborhood gang, spear-headed by none-other-than my second oldest sister. She drove around the neighborhood showing who’s the boss. She also hauled all three of them in one bike with training wheels with her brute strength. But the real boss, was the oldest sister. She shows off her position in the clan by crossing her arms over.

siblings biking

The littlest of the three munchkins, grew up cuter and cuter. And now as an adult, he looks exactly the same with that mischievous look on his face. He’s a pacifist so he retired from the gang and he enjoys long strolls at the park while he picks flowers.

brother

This is also another priceless picture in my collection. Grandparents when they were younger and a more recent photo in the middle.

ama akon

If all I did in this trip was look at family pictures, then I would have been equally happy. I’m so thankful for having gone on this trip. I’ve waited so long to see the other part of my genes.

Better late than never :’)

PS: I only have three days of Taiwan posts left. Wow.