Nan Tien Temple - vor einem 1/2 Jahr haben wir unsere Reise mit einem Besuch eines buddhistischen Tempel in Hongkong begonnen. Und zu Schluss haben wir dann den größten Tempel der Südhalbkugel in Wollongong besucht.
A busy day planned to day exploring the area around Bulli. G & G picked us up and headed south towards Woollongong and then inland - although their navigation at times left much to the imagination! We were heading towards a Buddhist temple which is not really where you would expect to find it. Nan Tien Temple, is the largest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere. It is very different from most tourist attractions as you get out of the car and start walking towards the temple grounds you are struck by a real feeling of calm. The architecture is grand, red / terracotta and stunning with intricate carvings on the edges of the roof an in the white walls and columns. The temple provides art and culture including unique exhibitions and festivals, Buddhist festivals, vegetarian culinary delights in their dining room, educational and healthy lifestyle classes and retreats. The main temple interior is awe inspiring and informative cards explain the symbolism and why each god / statue is there. The five Buddhas of Confidence, Longevity, Wisdom, Inner beauty and Peace stand at the front of the shrine each with their hands placed in a different way. The walls are covered with 10,000 smaller Buddhas in columns showing that everyone can achieve Buddhahood. You have to remove your shoes and make sure your shoulders and legs are covered when you go into any temple in the complex. The Front shrine or Great compassion hall houses The Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (Guan Yin) is a symbol of great compassion listening to people's prayers to alleviate suffering for all.
The Pilgrim lodge used for courses, overlooks the lotus pond which has various coloured, large Coy Carp in it. This is a very tranquil area, surrounded by willows and 18 Arhats (saints). Lotus - whether shown as a developing bud, in full bloom, with or without a stem - is one of the most complex and prominent Buddhist symbols of purity and enlightenment. From the swampy depths it grows into an exquisite and fragrant flower. Likewise, people can emerge from ignorance, become pure, and blossom into enlightenment. Lotus imagery abounds throughout Nan Tien Temple. Most of the Buddha and Bodhisattva figures are on lotus thrones. In the gardens with the background of the beautiful rolling hills, and famous escarpment of the Illawarra, is the Monument commemorating the completion of the temple a happy Buddha. The Pagoda, an eight storey resting place for the deceased, with a shrine dedicated to Ksitgarbha Bodhisattva who vowed to help all beings reach enlightenment.
After a refreshing, home made, iced lemon tea we continued on to Mount Keira. Mount Keira forms part of the Illawarra escarpment which it joins by a high saddle on the back (western) side. It is capped by a westward sloping plateau of relatively hard sandstone ringed on the remaining 3 sides by cliffs. From the cliff base the mountain slopes down to the surrounding foothills and coastal plain. From Wollongong the mountain looks rather flat topped; while from the north it appears part of the escarpment. The majority of the mountain is forested with eucalypt (sclerophyll) forest and sub-tropical rainforest, while civilisation encroaches on the lower slope regions.
Gwyneth seemed to think that the mountain had grown since last time they were up there, as every corner we went round she felt would be the top! When we finally got to the top the lookout had been improved and made safe as there had been a slip. What was left of the restaurant, burnt down by a serious bush fire had been demolished and notices pointed out that a new development with restaurant and deck would be finished during 2018. The view would have been even more amazing if it hadn't have been misty. There was 180 degree view over the Coast and Illawarra area from Woolongong Port and steel works around to the Bald Hill and beyond. We could see the Nan Tien Temple we had seen earlier, Woolongong headland and harbour, as well as Illawarra lake, the 2nd largest salt water lake in Australia.
We headed back down very slowly, due to the gradient and twisty road. We had a lovely lunch at the RSL in Collimar then decided to spend the afternoon at Woolongong Botanic Garden as it was on the way back to G & G's. The whole of the garden covers 25 hectares, but we only covered a small corner, including the duck pond; Rotunda which had nesting swallows in the eaves; the rose garden and gazebo; Kawasaki bridge and Peace garden including the Azalea bank. What we saw was beautiful and it was really restful sitting and watching the world go by.
In the evening we strolled along Bulli beachfront trail to the left of the park, up to Bulli Point and back. We walked past new developments and information pages about the coal industry in the area and the rail tracks that came down to the sea front to load coal onto the boats docked at the local piers. Graham seemed to think he had a problem with his shoe or knee as he kept hearing clicking or tapping on the way back - it was only when he got to the car park that he realised it was a 50 cent piece knocking against the phone in his pocket!Read more
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