This stop was one of those places where we could have spent the whole day taking pictures. Despite the heat, I never got tired of taking in the views of the entire Buddha Memorial Center (BMC). Unfortunately, we got lost on the way and didn’t get to spend as much time there as we would have liked. I’ve recently started dabbling in meditation, including mindfulness meditation (future post coming), so I wanted to learn more about this place. I did some more research and found out some interesting facts about the BMC and the symbolism behind the BMC.
Free Tours – The BMC offers free tours to visitors daily from 10:30 – 11:30 AM. You should sign up before you go here.
Master Hsing Yun – The founder of the Fo Guang Shan International Buddhist Order. Hsing Yun commissioned the Buddha Memorial Center to enshrine the Buddha’s tooth relic, symbolizing the everlasting presence of the Buddha dharma. The Order emphasizes education and service and maintains public universities, Buddhist colleges, libraries, publishing houses, Buddhist art galleries and tearooms, free mobile medical clinics, children’s home, retirement home, high school, and television station.
Construction – The BMC was conceptualized by Hsing Yun in 1998 and construction commenced in 2001 enshrining the Buddha’s relic. Construction lasted for ten years and the BMC was officially opened on December 25th 2011.
Eight Pagodas – The eight pagodas represent the Noble Eightfold Path, also known as the Middle Path or Middle Way. The Noble Eightfold Path is the fourth of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, and asserts the path to the cessation of dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness). The path teaches that through restraining oneself, cultivating discipline, practicing mindfulness and meditation, the enlightened ones stop their craving, clinging and karmic accumulations, and thus end their rebirth and suffering.
Four Sutras – The four sutras surrounding the Buddha represent the Four Noble Truths. The Four Noble Truths comprise the essence of Buddha’s teachings, though they leave much left unexplained. They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.
Mission of the BMC – (1) 48 underground palaces – as reserves of human wisdom and history. (2) Life education – through the promotion of cultural arts and environmental protection. (3) Cross-straits cultural exchange – for the revival of Chinese culture. (4) Buddhist arts – preserving and re-creating through exhibitions and academic conferences. (5) Serving the public – with respect and tolerance, through sharing resources, and with warm hospitality.
Core Values of the BMC – (1) Three Acts of Goodness: Doing Good Deeds, Speaking Good Words, Having Good Intentions. (2) Four Givings: Giving Others Confidence, Giving Others Joy, Giving Others Hope, Giving Others Convenience.
While we’re not Buddhists, everyone can appreciate the beauty of the BMC. This is one of the places I’m sure I will never forget, especially considering we almost missed seeing it. Do yourself a favor and block out an entire day to explore this place. It is also supposed to be spectacular at night.
If you’d like to do your own research please check out the official website of the BMC. You can also read the full blog post about the BMC and Kaohsiung. See the full gallery of pictures of Kaohsiung and the BMC here.