On Sunday I visited Dharma Drum Mountain (法鼓山) World Center for Buddhist Education in Jinshan (金山) on the north coast. The centre includes the Dharma Drum University, Dharma Drum Monastery and Museum of Buddhist History and Culture. Dharma Drum Mountain is one of Taiwan's largest Buddhist organisations founded by Master Sheng Yen (聲嚴大師).
The center is built on a hillside above the town of Jinshan. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and there has been great attention to detail. Two small streams flow through the centre and their waters are all very clean and clear. The standards of construction of the buildings are extremely high. The buildings are all in white, grey and brown; the simplicity allows them to blend in to the local environment.
I joined a tour of the centre which took in the visitor's centre and Grand Buddha Hall. The Wish Fulfilling Guanyin Hall has a beautiful statue of Guanyin in the Tang Dynasty style. There is a shallow pool in front of the hall (see photo above), which creates a great sense of calm.
The Founding History Memorial Hall is a small museum. It includes a replica of the room were Master Sheng Yen spent six years in solitary retreat at Chaoyuan Monastery in Kaohsiung County. Another hall had an exhibition of the Master's calligraphy. There were several beautiful contemporary artworks on display around the centre.
The Lotus Bell Tower has a 25 tonne bell inscribed with the complete Lotus Sutra, the Great Compassion Mantra and a painting titled, "Two Buddhas Sitting in the Many Jewelled Pagoda".
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The temple is located near the town of Jinshan on the north coast. Guoguang Bus Company runs a bus direct to the temple from the Taipei Intercity Bus Terminal (near Taipei Station). You can also get to Jinshan by bus from Danshui or Keelung and take a taxi to the temple.
Visiting hours are from 9:00 to 16:00. You can call in advance to arrange a tour (ph: 02 2498 7171 x1350, 1351, 1353).
Visitors should be respectful of the rules for visiting the temple. In particular do not bring any non-vegetarian food, alcohol or betel nuts into the center.
* Originally posted at David on Formosa