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Finding peace – visiting Nan Tien temple


2nd August, 2015 in Wollongong

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02.08.2015 @ 04:00PM – yet another Sunday and as usual I had to find a place to go away from my house. But unlike other days, it was an easy decision today. I had not visited this Buddhist temple before. It is called Nan Tien temple and is apparently the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere. I just had to find out if there was an easy public transport to the place. To my surprise there was one. I had to board the train to Kiama from Martin place and get off in Unanderra, from where it was around 20 min walk.

I quickly got dressed and took the 9:22 am service. It was almost 2 hour ride from Martin Place. That sounded easy-peasy till the train was about to reach Helensburgh. It stopped before the station arrived and stood there for a while. It was my first ever experience of train stopping away from the station. After a couple of minutes, the guard announced that the train was delayed by 20 min, due to an urgent track-work. Well that was not that bad, given the fact, I was in no hurry. It was around 20 min when the train resumed its journey and after a couple of stops on the way it finally arrived at my destination Unanderra, at around 11:50am.

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Well I did find Sun today, but, I was in quest of something different today. After reading lot of positive reviews, I was on my journey of finding peace in the Nan Tien temple. I started walking and was accompanied by a large group of Asian tourists, which was not surprising at all. After walking for around 15 min I entered the premises of the temple. The temple is located on one of the busiest highway of NSW, the princess highway. However once you enter inside the premises the noise of the vehicles is not that bad.

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I started off by visiting the pagoda which housed a prayer hall, a calligraphy hall and a chanting hall. The chanting hall had chants playing that were indeed reviving and peaceful. However the peace and quietness of the room were often broken by the tourists and staff members. After spending a couple of minutes in the chanting hall, I decided to head off to the main temple.

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The temple had two player halls, of which one was huge, housing the main shrine. I entered the first hall that was gracefully decorated with gods, placed on every available space on the walls. The hall looked like a large piece of well ornamented jewellery.

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At the centre of it was a large statute of the god. I said my prayers and sat down in hope to find some peace. But with so many tourists around it was a difficult choice. After a couple of minutes, I headed to the corner of the room that had a small place to kneel down to say your prayers and some instructions in front to have your wishes granted.

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The instructions read – kneel down, join your hands, close your eyes and say your wishes. Then pick your stick (scroll) and hope for your wishes to come true. I did exactly that and picked up my scroll. This is what the scroll looked like and what it read:

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Whether if it correlated to my wishes or not, I’ll let that remain a mystery. After reading the scroll, I headed for the main and the largest temple. The main temple housed 5 huge statues of the Lord Buddha. All of them designed to perfection. All the devotees were offering their prayers in their own way – some kneeling down with their baby, some burning the incense sticks and some just looking at the shrines. I spent a couple of minutes their and headed off to get my lunch. It was already 2pm and I was super hungry. I had read in the reviews that this place had one of the best vegetarian (only) foods. Although I’m not a big fan of vegan food, but was still inquisitive to try it. There are two options to have your lunch. There is one inside the temple dining hall that had rice or noodle option with some vegetables and fry for $12. I definitely wanted to check out the second option which was the café, just before the entrance to the temple.

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The café had heaps of options (only vegan) ranging from different drinks to quench your thirst, dumplings and spring rolls for snacks and rice and noodles for mains. The price of the food was also reasonable ranging from $8 to $13 (max), for any 1 choice. I settled for wonton noodle soup which definitely met my expectations. After finishing my lunch, I headed to check out their lotus pond. It was definitely of a good size with loads of colourful fishes but with not lotus. I lied down near the pond, soaked some sun and took a power nap. It was 3:20 pm when I woke up and it was time for me pack up and start heading back towards the station, to board the 3:41 service.

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Just before I was about to reach the station, I was greeted by an elderly gentleman, who gave me free information about my train and handed me a book titled “The Essential Jesus”, asking me to read it on my way back. I’m yet read it as I decided to write this instead. Well so here I am in the train finishing this blog and calling it a day.

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And to my quest of finding peace, I would like to say that the quest is likely to continue on a new day and in a new place. Till then this is Bish signing off for today at 4:53 PM!!

 


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