Lazada Philippines

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Appreciating China at Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple

With all the issues surrounding the sovereignty of our country, Philippines, against China, I can't blame if there are Filipinos out there who are starting to hate Chinese and their culture now. But if you'll ask a traveler like me, well, it's kinda sad to know that we all have to go through all this hate and fight, instead of just appreciating what we both have. And I personally think that with just a little understanding, we can both in one-stroke of peaceful world, something that I believe both countries would want to have.

Last week, I had a very unusual weekend. Despite of the unconditional weather that we have here in Manila, I managed to spent a peaceful and full-of-learning day with the volunteers and monks of Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple in Malate, Manila.

Being born and raise here in Manila, I seldom have a chance to peek into those sky-scraping and truly magnificent temples. Actually, I cannot recall a moment where I've been in a Buddhist temple here in Manila, so this is kinda my first-ever Buddhist Temple visit here in my beloved city.

Anyway, on my visit here, I was welcomed by the serenity and peacefulness of the whole temple, which is a common thing about Buddhist Temple. It huge doors are a great symbolism of welcoming attitude that I truly love about these temples.

Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple prepared some interesting activities for us that day to make us appreciate what their culture and religion is all about. I'm not actually here to change beliefs and religion, so, don't worry guys, all of these are just for learning and experience. But before we go to the activities that we've done that day, let me share to you first this wall full of Buddha image - it was the most beautiful wall I've seen in my life, and I'm honestly can't get it out of my head.

I think there are about thousand of them there because it covered all the walls surrounding the Sakyamuni Buddha at the Main Shrine.

Going back, as a little backgrounder, Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple is the main temple of FGS Philippines. It means Ten Thousand Years in English, an expression which means Long Live, thus the translation to Mabuhay in Filipino. The temple integrated both modern and oriental elements resulting in a space filled with light and warmth ready to welcome the local community.

This temple was built in memory of Venerable Master Hsing Yun, a very youthful leader who radiates loving-kindness and has devoted his life  to the transformation of societies worldwide through the practice of Humanistic Buddhism.

And one of the biggest influences of Venerable Master Hsing Yun to Fo Guang Shan is the one-stroke calligraphy, which was taught to me that afternoon. Though, we were only traced some of the scriptures that they prepared for us, it was still a fun-learning experience to me. I thought that writing Chinese characters was easy since most of the time we're just to connect one brush stroke to another, but I was sooo wrong!

Using this special pen, we were given an ample time to try on our own writing/tracing some one-stroke calligraphy Venerable Master Hsing Yun had written years ago. It was one tough activity, I must tell you, but it was fun.

After that, volunteers asked us to take our spot at the side where these meditation couches were situated. It was then that they taught us how to mediate inside the temple. They said that their temple is so sacred to them that having meditation inside it can really help your physical and spiritual being. We spent some 15 minutes there, I guess, and even though it was kinda "bitin", I felt how sacred the whole activity was.

After some stretching and more breathing, we were then asked to come near to the table right in front of us where these different kinds of tea leaves were displayed.

To Chinese, tea preparation is not just some ordinary ritual, it is also a spiritual thing that was carefully done to get the perfect taste of the tea and not to spoil it.

One thing that I learned from this activity was the higher the mountain were the tea leaves are picked the better-tasting they are. And that day, volunteers of FGS showed us how to prepare tea and let us taste it. We had the High Mountain Tea that day, and I must say - it was good.

Before we do the most scared part or should I say the highlight of the afternoon, some kids from Taiwan, who are also followers of Fo Guang Shan, shared a Taiwanese dance number to lighten up the day. 

Oh, they were so cute that I wanna take one of them home! Hahaha! Really!

And as the clock ticked to 3:30 p.m., we were asked to stand from our seats to join the volunteers and followers of Fo Guang Shan in reciting the English Buddhist Prayer.

I honestly don't want to do this since I was not raised to pray to other gods, but in respect to the tradition - to the culture - I let it slip, and somehow be cooperate for me to truly appreciate their religion too. And to my surprise, their prayer is almost the same as to how we, Christians, pray. They pray for their people, they pray for their country and they pray for their leader. It was really a heart-warming activity that I guess, I would never forget.

Thank you, Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple, for sharing to us your learning and your culture. It was an eye-opening for me as well as a delight to know something more about the Chinese culture and Buddhism! Mabuhay po kayo!

As for you who are planning to pay a visit at this sacred place, on July 28th to August 31st, art collectors, art enthusiasts and the general public can check out the One Stroke Calligraphy Exhibit of Venerable Master Hsing Yun. This is said to be a rare opportunity because you'll get to peek into the heart and mind of Venerable Master Hsing Yun and witness his great wisdom and compassion through his truly unique style of calligraphy.

Happy rammmpa!


  1. This one is interesting! where is it located?

  2. This temple is just a few meters from our condo in Manila!


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