Today was a fun-filled day that helped us learn a lot about Buddhism in Taiwan. We started our day by heading to Dashu Village of Kaohsiung City, where we visited the Fo Guang Shan Monastery. Founded by Venerable Master Hsing Yun in 1967, the Fo Guang Shan Monastery is renowned worldwide, and it is the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. Members of Fo Guang Shan follow and promote the three good practices campaign: do good deeds, speak good words, and think good thoughts. This monastery also has a focus on Humanistic Buddhism and the integration of tradition with modern ideals. Here are some of the highlights from the monastery:

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This bronze statue depicts the Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the Founder of Fo Guang Shan Monastery. Venerable Master Hsing Yun was born in China in 1927 and came to Taiwan in 1949. He started building Fo Guang Shan Monastery in 1967, and since then, he has established over 200 branches of Fo Guang Shan, as well as 16 Buddhist colleges. In 1985, he began traveling worldwide in order to propagate the Dharma, or the teachings of Buddhism, and six years later he founded the Buddha’s Light International Association in order to promote Humanistic Buddhism specifically.

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The Lumbini Garden is a symbolic representation of the birthplace of Buddha.

After the monastery, we headed to the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center. Here are some highlights:

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We stopped for a group photo in front of the famous Fo Guang Big Buddha!

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We took in some of the beautiful architecture, including these Chinese-style pagodas.

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After the Monastery, we headed to Meinung folk village, where we picked up some souvenirs for our friends, our family, and ourselves.

Next, we stopped at a nearby sugar refinery. Yun-Fei, our SZMC teacher leader for the day, was kind enough to treat all of us to ice cream!!

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Finally, we went to a night market to grab some dinner and check out the local scene. After a long day of food and fun, we headed back to the dormitory for some reading and relaxation!

-Brittany