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Taiwan: Alishan National Park, Kaohsiung, Sun Moon Lake, Tainan, Taipei, Taitung, Taroko National Park, Yehliu Geo Park
Taitung, Taiwan: Break journey
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Taitung City is on the southeast coast of Taiwan. It’s known for Peinan Cultural Park, the site of a number of buried Neolithic slate coffins first excavated in the 1980s. Examples of relics recovered from the site, including pottery and jade stones, are displayed at the National Museum of Prehistory. In the wooded Taitung Forest Park are birds and butterflies, and footpaths wind past several lakes.
My visit to Taitung was limited only for a night's halt. We left Kaohsiung around noon with our first stop about 40 minutes away at The Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum.
The Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum, previously known as the Buddha Memorial Center, is a Mahayana Buddhist cultural, religious and educational museum. The museum is affiliated with Fo Guang Shan, one of Taiwan's largest Buddhist organisations. The museum houses one of the tooth relics of Sakyamuni Buddha, the founder of the Buddhist faith. Construction of the museum began in 2008, and the museum was opened to the public in December 2011.
In 1998 Venerable Master Hsing Yun traveled to Bodh Gaya, India, to confer the precepts for full ordination. He was entrusted with a tooth relic by Kunga Dorje Rinpoche who had safeguarded the relic for nearly thirty years. Rinpoche was touched by the efforts of Fo Guang Shan in promoting exchanges between different Buddhist traditions, and he hoped that the relic could be enshrined in Taiwan as a symbol of Dharma preservation. Master Hsing Yun says, “The Buddha does not need anybody’s worship or reverence, it is living beings that need inspiration to develop wholesome thoughts and purify their minds. By worshipping a memorial, people can come to know the Buddha’s Dharma body, and their feelings of admiration can be elevated into wanting to learn about the Buddha’s virtues and practice them in everyday life. The Buddha doesn’t need a memorial, but living beings do. I built this pagoda with this in mind.”
With this belief, Hsing Yun looked for a suitable piece of land to build the Buddha Museum, which happened to be just behind the Fo Guang Shan. The design of the museum itself went through more than one hundred revisions. Venerable Master Hsing Yun was inspired just before the foundation had been completed, where he used a few bottles of mineral water, a tissue box and some newspapers, and set out a rudimentary layout for the future Buddha Museum.
One could easily spend days in exploring the sprawling museum and its many halls showcasing many postures of Buddha and his teachings. Sculptures on the corridor walls have stories to tell. We spent a couple of hours and then moved towards Taitung.
Driving along the Pacific coast we took a much deserved coffee break at a restaurant named Magic Cafe right on the beach. The owner's creative mind was on display at the premises. If you happen to drive on this coastal road, you will find this place interesting too. And yes, they do serve good coffee.
By 7 in the evening we were at Century Hotel, a 4-star property with its own hot spring pools.
The next morning we began our drive towards Taroko National park. Just on the outskirts of the city we had the good opportunity to mingle with one of the Taiwan's tribe right in their village. It was nice of them to welcome us with some song and dance. Just so you know, Taiwan has 16 tribes.
Taitung Image Gallery Photo viewer
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