TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A photo surfaced on Sunday (March 18) on a Taiwanese Facebook page showing a newly renovated Buddhist temple in Penghu with one of its Swastikas turned to the right, similar to the Nazi German symbol.
On the Facebook group F*** You Penghu (靠北澎湖) a member posted an image of the recently renovated Chaoyin Buddhist temple in Penghu's Magong City with two swastikas, one facing left, a sacred symbol in Buddhism, while another swastika is facing right, similar to the Nazi version.
The temple was built in 1963 and in 1973 a three story hall been added, but because the structure had been built with crude materials and wind and rain had taken its toll, the head abbot decided to have the building rebuilt, reported Liberty Times. However, once the scaffolding started to be removed, the abbot noticed that while one of the swastikas on the exterior of the top floor was rotating left (卍), symbolizing love and kindness, its mirror image right around the corner was rotating right (卐), though originally meaning wisdom and power, after being co-opted by the Nazis in the 1930s, it now hearkens to the dark period when Adolf Hitler used the symbol for antisemitism and terror.
Concerned that the backward facing Buddhist symbol may offend Germans and Israelis and as an annual meeting of Gulf state organizations will soon be held in Penghu, the abbot said that he immediately contacted the contractor to switch the swastika to the correct direction.
In Taiwan, swastikas rotating to the left (卍) are associated with Buddhism and when placed over restaurants signify that they are vegetarian, for Buddhists who abstain from eating meat. Both the left (卍) and right (卐) swastikas are ancient sacred symbols used by many religions around the world including Buddhism, Hinduism, Janism as well as many different cultures worldwide, such as Native Americans in the Southwestern United States.
The Nazi swastika differs from these symbols in that it not only faces right, but then is rotated 45 degrees upwards.
Nazi swastika (Wikimedia Commons)
(Photo from 靠北澎湖 Facebook page)