Today we went to the Nan Hua Temple in Bronkhorstpruit, It was such an enlightening experience.For today’s blog I decided to do a sort of photo essay. All you need to do is click on each picture to understand what you are looking at. LOVED IT!
The open road ahead of us. We love road trips so we were acting a fool and dancing along to the radio.
We got lost. And as we were disappearing into the open road the petrol light came on. Just as we were about to start panicking, we found this old Total garage. Photo: Shandukani Mulaudzi
Just to show you how old looking the Total Garage was, this was the sign for the shop.
Oh my gosh! Is that a Bronkhorstpruit sign? Let’s see how many pictures we could possibly take…ONE>>>
TWO>>> Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
THREE>>> Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
FOUR>>> Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
FIVE!!! Of course there were more but I mean who wants to look through that all day.
And there it is! The first sign that we were close to our destination.
This arch was built as the opening to what was meant to be a Chinese Cultural Park. Once you enter, the street names are in Chinese. The temple, is on corner Fo Kuang and Nan Hua streets.
These are the lions at the foot of the arches. We learned while we were inside that the lion is a symbol of protection in Chinese culture.
And there it was in all it’s majesty. The beautiful Nan Hua Temple which has been in Bronkhorstpruit since 1992. There are three shrines, a guest house, a meditation hall, the Nan Hua Academy and Nan Hua Village which span over the 9,075 hectares of land.
The guardian lion outside the main entrance to the temple.
The temple is home to the monks and nuns of the Buddhist faith and students who are studying Buddhism. I took this picture to show the lack of respect that was shown by someone who defaced one of the pillars of the main entrance arch.
Our gracious host Sipho who showed us around the temple. Sipho was doing martial arts when he first gained interest in Buddhism and Chinese culture. While he was doing martial arts he realised that it was not just about the physical but the mind played a big role. They say the rest is history but that would be boring. Sipho is a practicing Buddhist and lived in Taiwan for a while. He now helps with the tours around the temples.
The Hai Hui Tong is the main reception which is currently being developed and renovated to be the main point of inquiry for visitors coming to the main temple.
If you look closely, under the paw of the lion there is a ball with a pattern on it. According to my research the pattern represents the flower of life. The female lion has a different marking which I will explain in a later photograph.
This is the female guardian lion. This one has a baby lion at it’s paw as a symbol of the cycle of life.
Here’s a closer look so you can see, the cub is on it’s back and clutching onto it’s mother’s paw.
As a sign of respect before anyone enters the main shrine they are asked to take their shoes off. This is because the temple is a holy place and in order to receive full blessings your shoes must be off as you enter holy ground. No one is allowed to take pictures inside the temple unless permission is granted so we were only allowed one. Photo: Nokhuthula Manyathi
Inside the temple there are three Buddhas. According to the Temple Master, Ven Hui-Xeng, these are each about 250cm high. The seemed a lot bigger when looking at them though. Buddha means “The enlightened one”. The Buddha on the left is Amitabha Buddha who represents “longevity and endless light. He also represents infinite compassion, wisdom and aspirations”. In the middle is the teacher of the Saha World – Sakyamuni Buddha. He represents his teachings which are “compassionate and transforming. They are also said to bring endless joy and benefit to all beings”. The last Buddha is the Medicine Buddha. If you meditate to this Buddha you will gain “good merit and longevity”. Photo: Sipho
Outside the temple we met Ven Hui-Mu. Ven is short for the title Venerable and Hui means wisdom. The sign we are holding up with our fingers means peace and happiness. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
The monks meditate and pray in the temple. The Holy Book of the Buddhists is called the Sutra (“not that Sutra, Sipho laughed as he told us). On this sheet there are Sutra Chinese characters. During meditation if the monks would like to focus on something to help them avoid distractions they can trace over the Chinese characters.
This is my fortune that I found in the main shrine. There are a whole lot in a fish bowl shaped glass container (what a crappy description) and you just grab one and read it. I thought mine was very related to me I was so excited.
2013 is the year of the snake. In the courtyard outside the dining hall this is the banner that has been placed there as a reminder.
This is the temple master Ven Hui-Xing. He comes from the main temple the Fo Guang Shan Temple in Taiwan. He came to South Africa seven years ago. The direct translation of Fo Guang is – Buddha Light Mountain. Nan Hua means Southern Flower representative of the temple being is South Africa.
This is Zando Bakhari, he works in Human Resources and he translates for Ven Hui-Xing as well.
He spoke of the beauty from within and said it was very important for people to focus on what is within and not the outward appearance. He said all the make up in the world cannot help you become a better person and if you are ugly on the inside it will reflect in what you do.
He was so animated I had to take a million pictures.
At the end of our interview Ven Hui-Xing gave us each a gift.
The gifts have this writing on them. It is a wish for the body, mind and spirit to be free.
The dragon represents bravery, authority and wisdom in Chinese culture. This sculpture is outside the guest house.
The guest house.