and the Four Great Bodhisattvas
|Counting the Courtyard
as the First Level, the Buddha Hall is on the Fifth Level.
This is naturally the primary
goal of most visitors. In it resides a figure of Shakyamuni,
the Historic Buddha, revered by all Buddhists. On either
side of him are Ananda and Mahakasyapa, his faithful disciples who
codified his teaching after his death. Thus this triad
represents the Dharma (the teachings of Buddhism); the Sangha (the
community of monks, in the persons of the two disciples), and the
Buddha himself. These three--The Buddha, The Dharma, and The
called the Triple Gem of Buddhism; thus this is called "The
Hall of the Great Treasure."
On either side of the Buddha are
two of the Four Great Bodhisattvas (the other two are in side
halls on this level): Pu Hsien and Wen Shu Pusas, who are also
pictured on the bas relief mentioned below.
Through the Back Door of the
Hall, one can see a multi-armed Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, or
Guan Yin Pusa. On either side of her are bas reliefs and
frescoes featuring many figures. The first on the left is
Samanthabhadra Bodhisattva (Pu Hsien Pusa) on his elephant; the
one on the right is Manjusri Bodhisattva (Wen Shu Pusa), on the
Lion. These two represent Buddhhist Practice and Wisdom,
Ranged around the courtyard are
The front left has a
figure of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva (Di Cang Pusa), who vowed to
save all beings from hell.
The rear left was a new
one on me: the Hall has a figure of Amitabha Buddha (Amitofo), but
is dedicated to the "Wang Sheng Lun," or The Treatise on the Sutra of Immeasurable Life
traditionally attributed to the Indian scholar Vasubandhu.
It teaches practices which can lead to re-birth in Amitabha's Pure
Land (hence the figure of Amitabha); read more about it here.
The rear right features
the Medicine Buddha (Yao Shi Fo). Thus a familiar scheme is
carried out: in some temples, Amitabha is on the historic Buddha's
left, and the Medicine Buddha on his right, within the Main Hall;
here they are in separate halls, but the same relative positions.
Finally, in the front right
hall is Guan Yin Bodhisattva again, completing the quartet of the
Great Bodhisattvas on this level.
On the top and final level, there
is a Scripture Repository and Lecture Hall; behind it is a
peaceful bamboo grove. One can also continue up hte mountain
from here, or, turning to the right, descend down the side stairs
to the level of the Dining Hall and,
further down, the Sleeping Buddha Hall.
A work in progress: More to come!