Thursday, February 02, 2006

Dong Zen FGS Temple





Fo Guang Shan (FGS) is an international Buddhist monastic order, originating from Taiwan and led by the Venerable Master Hsing Yun. There are 17 centres in Malaysia with the headquarters at the temple near Banting.

Location:
Sungai Jenjarom, Banting.

From Kesas highway just go towards Klang until you see the 'Banting' signage then turn left. You will see the 'Fo Guang Shan(FGS) Temple' signage guiding you along the way. It's around 17 km away after turning left from Kesas highway.

What to see?

First man-made Lumbini Garden (the birth place of the Buddha) in Malaysia. The main attraction is the “One Step, One Lotus” display which is a lifelike animatronic figure of Prince Siddharta walking seven steps after his birth, with each step forming a lotus in the Lumbini Garden.

Other features with special effects include the lapis lazuli tower and the mechanised lanterns in an area displaying the statues of 18 Arhats. (Arhats, a Sanskrit word, refers to a perfect person who has gained insight into the true nature of existence and has achieved nirvana or spiritual enlightenment.)
Flower exhibition was an apt highlight of the event because Chinese New Year was celebrated in spring when flowers bloomed.

A six-metre, seven-tonne bronze statue of the Buddha inside the main shrine. The statue, which was designed in Taiwan and made in China, and is a gift from the Chief Abbot of the Fo Guang Shan in Taiwan. Eight other bronze carvings line the walls, each depicting the Buddha’s life from birth to his achieving Nirvana.

Another unique features for this year is the garden sculpture "Goddess of Mercy" face and also the "Laughing Buddha'.

Four exhibitions are held on the temple grounds during the festive season. Among them are, a Book Fair that features journals on Buddhism and health, a Light of Art exhibition that has 60 table lamps from Taiwan and designed with Buddhism characteristics.

There is also an Artistic Exhibition that features works such as calligraphy, sculpture, carving, paintings and pottery by 100 local artists.

Food:
Various stalls selling vegetarian food can also be found at the temple.

Opening Hours:
Free Entrance.

The Fo Guang Shan Temple is open daily from 10am to 10pm on weekdays and till 11pm on weekends until March 6. After that date, it is open from 9am to 7pm from Tuesdays to Sundays.

Around that area:
Basically it's a laid-back town with old shophouses. It's famous for it's many seafood restaurants. But during this Chinese New Year, getting a table can be a test of your patience.

Advice:
Best time for visit will be starting your journey around 5:30 pm getting around there. Hopefully the traffic is kind to you and getting you there around 6:30 pm where there's still daylight for you to enjoy the ambience of the beautiful and colourful flowers. Then wait for the lanterns to be lighted up for nightfall and enjoy another different ambience of the garden.

During the CNY expect to find thousands of visitors paying a visit to this FGS temple. It took me nearly 2 hours to reach there from the city center. And then it was human contact on every turn and long queues. It could also be due to the fact that on the very night I was there, a big prayer was organised so which explains the many devotees paying a visit the same night as I did.
By: Wendy

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