Hsi Lai – exploring the temple
Religions are more than often wrapped in mysteries and despite having good values of conduct at the core more than often serve as a cornerstone for division between various groups of people. Many theological establishments have an intimidating and less than welcoming facades deterring rather than growing crowds. His Lai temple is exactly opposite of strictness and coldness that many western religions are associated with.
Largest Chinese Buddhist temple and monastery in the Hacienda Heights area of Los Angeles, California is a welcoming architectural marvel. Executed in a shape of a bodhi leaf the temple houses multiple functional spaces including: a pagoda (all the way in the back), a main shrine building (with impressive details) , a bodhisattva shrine, classrooms, a tea room, garden, museum, vegetarian cafeteria, and gift shop.
The hall, temple and pretty much every space are completely open to the public to explore and be awed by the craftsmanship of the Chinese architects. Our son really enjoyed wondering around the temple looking at the various statues. In fact the boy seemed very intrigued by the calm atmosphere and adopted the vibe behaving himself all the while.
What to see at the Hsi Lai Buddhist temple
The Hsi Lai temple is a very peaceful place predisposing visitors to meditative state of mind. Besides having opportunity to meditate visitors may engage in various activities offered at the establishment (see the official website for the schedule of classes and events).
We were lucky enough to be shown around by one of the regular parishioners. A delightful lady told us about the welcoming nature of the Buddhism and a bit about the activities taking place at the temple.
We swung by the artifact room (the Museum) to wrap up the tour. Unfortunately traveling with a child doesn’t always go as planned and we had to cut our visit short; however we’ll be back again to learn more about the religion and try the Vegetarian buffet.
Our Vegetarian Buffet is open Mon – Fri 11:30am to 1:30pm, Sat 11:30am to 2:30pm & Sun 12:30pm to 2:30pm.z
Just like after visiting the Largest Hindu Temple in Malibu, we felt like we went to another country for a day after visiting Hsi Lai temple with our kid. We are very lucky to have these destination points all over California. It’s like going abroad without having to bring your passport.
History behind the Hsi Lai
Hsi Lai Temple, the North American Regional Headquarters of Fo Guang Shan, was built to serve as a spiritual and cultural center for those interested in learning more about Buddhism and Chinese culture. It is the intention of its founder, Venerable Master Hsing Yun, to propagate Humanistic Buddhism and to create a Pure Land here on earth. Hsi Lai Temple is built to fulfill these goals in the United States.
Situated in Hacienda Heights in the Los Angeles county, Hsi Lai Temple is one of the largest Buddhist temples in North America. The temple’s foundational ideology is Humanistic Buddhism which seeks to propagate Buddhist teachings through education, cultural outreach, community services, and spiritual practice. In this pursuit, Hsi Lai Temple has hosted numerous local and international events, including Chinese Spring Festival which, during its two week period, welcomes an average of 20,000 visitors per day.
Hsi Lai Temple encompasses 15 acres and a floor area of over 100,000 square feet. The temple’s architecture, gardens and statuary are faithful to the traditional style of Chinese monasteries from the Ming (1268—1644) and Qing (1644—1911) dynasties. The ten-year planning and construction was completed in 1988. Hsi Lai means “Coming to the West” and signifies the dedication of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order to spread the teachings of the Buddha to those in the West. The International Buddhist Progress Society, a nonprofit organization, is the chartered name for the temple.