High above the tops of the trees I saw a majestic sight, it was shining so beautiful in the sunlight that I couldn’t resist investigating.
As I got closer I realized that the object of my wonderment was a gigantic Buddhist Temple and it was open to the public…BONUS!
The Hsi Lai Temple is located in Hacienda Heights, Calif, was completed in 1988 and sits on 15 acres. You can either tour yourself or take a guided tour daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I toured myself and I highly suggest doing that even if you take a guided tour. The temple has a lot to look at so doing it at your own pace is beneficial so you can spend as much time looking as you want.
OK enough with the formalities, let’s get to the good stuff!
When you first enter…walk up the big steps and turn around at the top – enjoy the view before you enter. As I walked through the main doors I was in awe ( I’m sorry but there are no photos of this as pictures are not allowed to be taken indoors – think of it as an incentive to see for yourself.) It was so grand and the architecture was amazing. I felt like I had stepped into another place and time. Everything popped put at me: artifacts, signs…and then something caught my eye – people were cracking something on a manual machine. As I walked over, I noticed that there were whicker baskets full of little red plastic containers with fortunes inside and the machine was used to open them up. How could I pass this up? I LOVE fortunes! After I selected my container, I cracked it open and headed outside to take a personal moment to read it – sorry I can’t share as it is between me and the temple:)
Lots of things make me excited and what I saw when I went outdoors was no exception. Buddha statues of every shape, size, facial expression, etc…were everywhere. My eyes darted form place to place trying to figure out where I was going to begin….after a minute I just decided to go left…lol!
I know I say this a lot…but really take your time! There is so much to see! The grounds are superb and are not to be over looked. One thing that I became drawn to as I walked around were the hands of the sculptures. You could see where people had touched them for prayer and guidance. I was fascinated by the thought of the many who had stood before me and admired the exact same thing that I was.
If all the sightseeing is making you hungry…have no fear food is near. The temple offers a vegetarian lunch buffet daily for a $7.00 donation. While I unfortunately missed the buffet, I was lucky enough to partake in dessert…fresh cooked pastries in the courtyard! YUMMY!
After I had my fill of sweet goodness I wandered into the Temple of 1000 Buddhas (again, sorry no pictures but I can assure you it is something to see.) Yes, there really are 1000 Buddhas and yes it is remarkable. Words can not describe its beauty. I was on sensory overload.
Unfortunately it was late in the day…I really could have stayed much longer relishing in my new discovery and I hope to return soon to see all the things I missed.
In addition to the areas I have guided you through there is a library and a bookstore if you are interested. The temple also offers many classes on Buddhism if that is something you would like to explore.
If you visit, please remember to obey the rules as it is a spiritual temple and allowing guests in is just a perk for those of us who wish to visit.
I hope this post inspires you to stop and take a look when you see something that catches your eye…you just never know what you may discover!
I leave you with one word that summed up my trip: