Nan Tien Temple


The Nan Tien Temple just south of Wollongong is a Buddhist  humanist Temple beside the Highway in a commanding very visible position. I was to meet my Brother there and drive into Sydney following him.

Somehow I missed the turnoff and had to double back to Five Islands turnoff. I did manage to find it and then when inside the grounds, had to find Pilgrim Lodge where we were staying the night. I walked to Pilgrim Lodge then they told me to drive through the barrier, which didn’t look wide enough, but on trying it, I found it was. So finally I parked beside the Lotus pond and went into Pilgrim Lodge and waited for my brother to arrive. It was very peaceful after the anxiety of getting there.

We decided to participate in what we could, and went to the Drum a d Bell ceremony which occurs twice a day at sunrise and sunset. The experience of standing in the resonance of the Drum and Bell was uplifting, energising and a great start to our visit.

We visited the museum which has some very unique displays of Buddhist culture and history. The founder of the Temple and of the monastic order, Venerable Master Hsing Yun, is featured telling some of the history which has led to his founding 200 temples and 4 universities. The latest institute built alongside the Temple opens 1sr March 2015.

We took a walk up the hill to the Graitude Bell and rang it in gratitude for our mother who recently passed away.  The sound reverberated around the hills.

Next we went down to the Pagoda which has eight stories and is a resting place for the deceased with a shrine to Ksirigarbha Bodhisathva.

We had a lovely vegetarian dinner in the Dining Hall and in the morning a great breakfast which included Chinese and English components. This was after attending Chanting in the Main Shrine with the 5 Buddhas.

The core ideas of Humanistic Buddhism:

Honour yourfamily and nation

Lead an appropriate Lifestyle

Establish right conditions for life and for people

Maintain a harmonious and joyful mind

I highly  recommend the Pilgrim Lodge as a place to stay It offers a place of peace and tranquility in a highly stressed world.

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Welcome to the Deep

`Welcome to the Deep” is a exhibition at the Queensland Museum which runs until October. Its quite an ambitious project covering many facets of underwater exploration and they have come up with some interesting presentations.

There are items like the entry tunnel which doubles as a projection surface to show scenes underwater. There are giant squids, both preserved and modelled, many interactives like the one to feel the pressure of the deep which goes to one atmosphere, a childrens’ playarea, many hard-hat helmets of different design, and my favorite the Bathysphere which you can enter and hear a description of William Beebe’s first dive to the deep and a modern version.

Having come from a background in Museum exhibition design, at the Australian Museum, I was impressed by the design and the coverage of current issues like acidification of the oceans and mining and geo-engineering. Thumbs up to the Queensland Museum for a great exhibition!