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Monday, 30 January 2017

Chinese New Year At Nan Hua Temple

The 28th of January was  the first day of the Chinese new year and to celebrate we took a little trip to Bronkhorstspruit (about 1.5hrs from Jhb North) to visit the Nan Hua Temple.  

"The Temple can trace its roots back to 8 March 1992, when the Bronkhorstspruit City Council, under its chief executive and former church minister, Dr Hennie Senekal, who had previously visited Taiwan to promote investment opportunities in his town, donated six hectares of land to the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order for a Chinese Buddhist cultural and educational complex.

 Construction began in October 1992; the eventual cost of the temple complex was sixty million South African rand. The main temple was officially opened in 2005 by the seventh and current worldwide head abbot, Most Venerable Hsin Pei."

 The Nan Hua Temple is the largest Buddhist temple and seminary in Africa.

We arrived at around 10.30 and the parking lot was absolutely buzzing with cars. Unfortunately we missed the fireworks which apparently went off at 9am. There were also traditional performances which we missed so we failed slightly there! Whilst the temple was beautiful, there were just way too many people there for us to enjoy the experience fully. There were lots of different food stalls and market type goods to buy but nothing you can't get at any other market. It's definitely worth a visit but I'd advise going on a weekend when there is nothing on!

Evidence that there was in fact LOTS of fireworks
The Temple is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, 9h00 to 17h00, free of charge. There is a vegetarian lunch on Sundays @ R30 per person, 12h00 to 12h30. The Temple is closed on Mondays. Check out their website HERE for more info. 

Inside the massive temple compound are a few different shrine rooms of varying sizes. Some are small and intimate whilst others boast massive Buddha statues and can accommodate hundreds of people. It was very special to be able to go into these sacred rooms and discover the intricate detail of each room. I would have liked a proper tour guide to accompany us and explain what each of the rooms are used for and what the meaning of the different artifacts are. You could light a stick of incense and place it below one of the many Buddha statues, but again I have no idea what this symbolises. 

Apart from the incense you could also write a wish on a piece of ribbon which then gets attached to a coin. You had to toss your ribbon into the wishing tree and if it gets caught on a branch, your wish will come true! 

I absolutely LOVE Foo dogs and they were everywhere at Nan Hau.

"Foo dogs are actually lions. In China, where foo dogs originated, they are called shi, meaning “lion,” or shishi, meaning “stone lion.” They do share a resemblance with the Chow Chow and Shih Tzu, which led these figures to be called foo dogs (or fu dogs) in English. Foo dogs are symbolic, protective statues, and they are designed in pairs — one is female, the other is male. The female represents yin, and symbolically protects the people dwelling inside the home, while the male statue, representing yang, protects the structure itself. You can tell which foo dog is which by examining what’s beneath the paws: the male dog holds a ball; the female dog holds a puppy. The ball may represent the world, and the puppy may represent nature, or a nurturing spirit. If one of your foo dogs has an open mouth, and the other has a closed one, this may represent the in-and-out breath, or the sound “om.”. When you’re facing a pair of foo dogs, the most auspicious placement according to feng shui is with the female (with cub) on the left, and the male (with ball) on the right."

This year is the year of the Fire Rooster according to the Chinese Zodiac Cycle. 

I'm a Fire Rabbit - Broad-minded, smart, and flexible, with unique views.

What are you? 

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