Driving south of Wollongong on the Princes Highway, you can’t help but notice the tiered tower of this elegant Buddhist temple rising high on the hill, overlooking Mount Keira and Mount Kembla. ‘Nan Tien’ means ‘paradise of the south’ in Chinese, and the temple complex, with its serene gardens and quiet halls, is a welcome respite from the buzz of the city. The temple is one of the branches of the Fo Guang Shen temple in Taiwan and was built in 1995 to promote the faith and teachings of Humanistic Buddhism. Followers believe that all beings can attain the same enlightenment as the Buddha and strive to bring Buddhism into their daily lives. Visitors can take a guided tour of the temple and gardens, visit cultural exhibitions, take courses in Buddhism, Tai Chi, Dun Huang dance and meditation (including tea meditation) or watch a calligraphy demonstration and tea ceremony. Those seeking a deeper connection can immerse themselves in the peaceful monastic lifestyle, teachings and practices by staying on a temple retreat. The venue also hosts Buddhist weddings and has a dedicated conference centre and a motel (Pilgrim Lodge). Entry to the temple is free.
- Report by Louise Charman-James, of Soul Signature