Baihe Daxian Temple
Baihe Daxian Temple Introduction
Baihe Daxian Temple is a major Buddhist temple complex and monastery located at the foot of Pillow Mountain in Baihe District. With its wide lawns, numerous pagodas, and worship halls stepping their way up the flanks of the mountain, Daxian Temple should not be missed. The temple offers free dormitory lodging and vegetarian meals to backpackers and other visitors for short stays, making this a great base for exploring the area.
The temple was founded 1701 as a center of Buddhist worship and teaching in by one Master Sanche, a wandering Buddhist monk who had come to Taiwan from Fujian Province. In the three hundred years since, the temple has undergone several renovations and expansions. Today, the complex includes six large worship halls and is home to about 300 monks and nuns. It is a vital part of community life in Baihe District.
Daxian Temple is part of the Linji School of Chan (Zen) Buddhism. Founded by Tang Dynasty monk Linji Yixuan in the 9th century, this Buddhist sect emphasizes the concept of prajna, which basically states that enlightenment is achieved through direct insight into the truth taught by the Buddha.
The main gate to Daxian Temple opens onto a large park area and expansive grounds. Up the walkway from this stands a much smaller, older gate flanked by a low wall on either side with double swallowtail roofs, landscape paintings, and small arched side entrances. This gate has been designated a class 3 historic landmark, both for its age and for its unusual and aesthetically pleasing style.
Behind the small gate is the Main Hall, which is dedicated to Sakyamuni. Built during the Japanese Occupation, it was modeled on Todai-ji, a famous temple in Nara. The Main Hall is presently undergoing major renovations which are scheduled for completion at the end of 2019, and will be closed until that time.
Other halls enshrine Avalokitesvara, (the God/Goddess of Mercy, known as Guanyin in Chinese) the Medicine Buddha, the Amita Boddhisatva, Bodhidharma (Zhushi), Cundi (Zhundi), and Ksitgarbha.
Of particular note is the recently completed Sanbao Hall and Zhundi Hall, as well as the gorgeous Zhushi Hall, which will be consecrated in late 2019. These three buildings are modern artistic masterpieces, and in style, they are unlike almost anything else you will see in Taiwan. All three are constructed entirely of natural Hinoki, or Taiwan Cypress, much of which was gifted to the temple from Japan, and all of which has been kept its natural color. The monumental architecture, massive wood columns, and delicate, exquisite carved work everywhere you turn will leave you awestruck. All by themselves, these three buildings are worth coming here for. You won’t be disappointed.
If you are coming to the area for an overnight visit, it is worth noting that the temple offers visitors two types of accommodations: There are dormitory style rooms with futons on raised platforms and separate bathroom facilities that visitors may use for up to three nights at no charge (if possible, a donation is appreciated), as well as single-sex rooms for up to four people that cost 1000 NT per night. Visitors are also welcome to eat at the temple’s public dining hall. Visitors are asked to respect the rules of the monastery requiring a vegetarian diet and celibate lifestyle when on the premises. Opening hours are from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
No. 1, Shezilin, Baihe Dist., Tainan City
+886 6 6852143