A new Buddha memorial hall at the Fo Guang Shan Monastery was unveiled Sunday, attracting more than 20,000 visitors eager to view one of the grandest Buddha halls in Taiwan.
The five-story edifice, which covers more than 4000 ping or about 13,000 sq.m, was opened following nine years of construction and features eight stupas, 48 palaces and what is reported to be the world’s tallest statue of Buddha at 108 meters. The opening of the new hall caused traffic jams that clogged roads throughout the area just off of Provincial Highway 21 north of the southern port city of Kaohsiung.
President Ma Ying-jeou was among the VIPs attending the ribbon cutting ceremony for the hall. He praised the monastery and other Buddhist institutions for the charitable work which has won an outstanding reputation for Taiwan in many countries around the world, noting that these charities not only are entirely free from government support, they actually often donate funds to government agencies to help them in relief efforts following disasters like the Morakot flood of August 2009 and even in aid to places like the Philippines, which has suffered several disasters from typhoons during the past year.
Led by the Venerable Master Hsing Yun, Fo Guang Shan and its facilities including the new memorial hall are open to the public for free. The Venerable Master noted that the entire complex is devoted to the ideal of providing peace of mind for all visitors. As President Ma looked on, the head of the monastery advised that people not get too involved in the upcoming presidential elections, saying that devoting too much attention to anything is not beneficial to the peaceful development of a society. Monastery officials note that opposition Democratic Progressive Party candidate Tsai Ing-wen will visit the new hall on December 27.