Thursday, November 01, 2012

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Shandao Temple, Taipei

11/01/2012 Taiwan Explorer

Shandao Temple 善導寺 is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Taipei, but mostly known because of the nearby Shandao Temple MRT Station. The current buildings were constructed between 1981-1986 (source) on the site of a much older building, that dates back to the year 1935 during Japanese occupation. In 1945 after Japanese ceded Taiwan to the ROC, the Department of Education took over the temple. In 1953 the "Pure Land School Shandao Temple Board of Directors" was established, which asked for the transmission of property rights from the government. It succeeded in 1957 and owns the temple ever since that time (source). I am not sure, what happened between the 1950s and 1980s, but for some reason the temple expanded and the original Main Hall disappeared. It's truly a big loss for the city, if you ask me. The original looked so much better:

Original Shandao Temple, time of photo unknown (source).

What remains is the old paifang or the Chinese styled gate, but even that was heavily modified today - compared to the original, it looks too new and heavily ornamented. I like the original better. The temple is far from being a tourist magnet, a lot of times people don't even recognize the buildings as part of a temple, because they architecture is so unusual.

Here are my recent images of the Shandao Temple:

The paifang's roof.

The Main Hall.

Zhongxiao East Road, Taipei's main artery.

Taipei 101 is seen here.

Another view on the temple complex.

The characters read from right to left.

The view in the other direction shows Shin Kong Life Tower.

The Main Hall from another angle.

The Hall of Mercy and Kindness.

The 5th, 6th and 7th floor house the museum of Buddhist history. I haven't gone inside, but I heard they offer a fine collection of artifacts from various Chinese dynasties.


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