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Hsi lai temple

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Hsi lai temple

Personal Perspective

When this paper was first assigned to us I didn't have any clue as to which Asian American religion was worth doing research on. As timed passed and more thought was given to the project I finally decided to go with Buddhism. The reason why I choose Buddhism as my topic is to allow me to relate more closely to the friends and family members who are Buddhist. In my family most of them are strong believers in Buddhism. As a child I never really understood the things that went on during time of prayer at my house in Taiwan. This is the main reason why I choose this particular religion to do my study on. Hopefully by the end on this paper I will be able to relate to my family better.

Through out my life I have visited many Buddhist temples. As I walk through the temple I remember becoming very interested in the what happens within these walls. I was never the religious type. Therefore I have no preference as to what religion I should be. Because of this my relationship with my family on a religious aspect has drifted wider and wider apart. This is why I choose the Buddhist religion , hoping to closing the gap which exist between me and the rest of the family on a religious aspect.


This study which is being conducted is purely a observational study. This study was done at the Hsi Lai Temple located in Hacienda Heights. This temple is the Los Angeles branch, the original is located in Kaohsiung, Taiwan ( Fo Guang Shan ). The Hsi Lai temple is about 102,432 sq. ft. The name Hsi Lai when translated means "coming to the west". This temple signifies the dedication of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order to spread the teachings of the Buddha to those in the west. It also serves as a bridge of cultural exchange between the east and the west.

In order for this study to be successful a lot of time was spent at the temple. It was about a little past noon on a Saturday when the study took place. It was pretty crowded around this time of day. There were a lot of activities going on here. There were people praying, there were those who took in the scenery within the temple walls, and than there were also those came to study. Many visitors visits these premises every day. It place is also an tourist spot for those who have just came from Taiwan. The reason why so many people come by is because they are interested in how a western temple would look like. Hsi Lai temple compared to its parent monastery in Taiwan is much smaller.

Many of the monks who resides there are from Taiwan. They came for the purpose of taking care of the temple. Each individual has their own daily chores. Some are in charge of giving tours to the visitors that comes here and others are either in charge of keeping the grounds of the temple clean or assisting those who are lost within the temple.


There exist four objectives within the Hsi Lai Temple. The first of the four is that it wants to expand its skills and talents through education. The second is that they want to foster an awareness of Buddhism through its cultural activities. The third is to benefit society through charitable events. Lastly it wants to cultivate the human mind through Dharma practices. These are the four major objectives which the temple focuses on.

Physical Description

The Hsi Lai Temple was built according to the architecture of the Ming and Ching dynasty. It took about ten years for the completion of this temple (1988). The initial concept of building the temple started in 1978. It took six public hearings and over a hundred community meetings to clear its proposal of building the temple. The actual planning of the temple took place on August 22, 1984 and the actual construction of the temple was on July 28, 1986. The Hsi Lai Temple was built to serve as a multifunction international Buddhist center. This center consist on a main shrine, meditation hall, lecture hall, a Dharma hall, Tripitaka hall, a library, lodging for traveling monks and nuns, an international conference center, twenty classrooms, two gardens, a memorial hall, a cultural exhibition room, a school for Chinese arts and culture, a dining hall, and living quarters for monks and nuns. <...

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