Main Shrine

Main Shrine - Inside

Main Shrine is the most important building and also called the Great Hero Hall. When we see the steps before the shrine, it reminds us of our aim to gain enlightenment. One cannot be given enlightenment, we have to gain it ourselves. It might take many many lifetimes and we have to take each step at a time steadily, it will be a long way but we ought to make those steps ourselves.

 

The five Buddha's of Confidence, Longevity, Wisdom, Inner Beauty and Peace grace the shrine with 10,000 smaller Buddha's, showing that everyone can achieve Buddhahood.

Li-Bu-Wei Buddha - Confidence

Li-Bu-Wei Buddha

Amitabha Buddha - Longevity

Amitabha Buddha

Tuo-Pao Buddha - Wisdom

Tuo-Pao Buddha

Miao-Se-Shen Buddha - Inner Beauty

Miao-Se-Shen Buddha

Gan-Lu-Wang Buddha - Peace

Gan-Lu-Wang Buddha

This Buddha’s symbolic direction is east. He signifies confidence and fearlessness. The hands are in a mudra of appeasement or consolation. With the daily occurrence of violence and natural disaster around the world, many people find it difficult to face the future. The tranquility gained from following the Buddha’s way better enables one to remain calm; like a mountain unmoved by ravaging elements, one can approach each day without fear.

This Buddha’s symbolic direction is west and his hands are in a mudra of concentration. He signifies infinite light and boundless life. Amitabha Buddha presides over the Western Pure Land. Praying to Amitabha Buddha improves one’s constitution and increases longevity. With sincere and continued practice of Buddhist principles, upon death one will go to the blissful Western Pure Land to spend each day learning and living the Dharma.
 
 
This Buddha symbolizes the central direction and represents wealth. The hands are in a mudra of the ceremony of unction. Humans’ craving for material wants is often a futile exercise. At best, the joy derived from materialism is short lived. Developing wisdom through following the Buddha’s teachings, however, can attain true wealth and fulfillment.
 
 
 
 
 
 
This Buddha’s symbolic direction is south. His hands are in a mudra of touching the ground, which symbolizes Sakyamuni Buddha’s resolve to overcome the temptations of Mara and thereby gain supreme enlightenment. He represents beautiful things, and is physically beautiful. The practice of Buddhism cultivates inner beauty and sincerity. This in turn results in a more relaxed and pleasing outward form.
 
 
This Buddha’s symbolic position is north. He signifies calmness and purity. His hands are in a mudra of casting out fear. Life’s problems can overtake the mind. In the interest of survival, one must seek escape. Unfortunately, running away offers only temporary respite and is not a true solution to life. The teachings of the Buddha can purify and calm the mind so that former problems no longer seem so wildly out of control.
 
 

Main Shrine - Happy BuddhaMain Shrine - Incense Burner

On either side of the Main Shrine, you will find the Bell and the Drum.

Main Shrine - Gong Main Shrine - Drum
The gongs in Chinese Temples are sounded 108 times, in lots of 18 and at varying speeds.  108 is considered to be a very auspicious number.  
 
It is also said that sentient beings have 108 types of worries.  Therefore, the gong is used to evoke these in everyone and to eradicate the 108 karmas. 
The drum is hit steadily in a combination of fast and slow paces creating a sound of roaring thunder.
 
If your listen very carefully you will be able to recognise sounds of the wind, rain, and thunder.  These sounds signify timely wind and rain or good weather and national prosperity. 
 

 

Both the gong and the drum are among the most important Dharma instruments in a temple.  In Buddha's time, the gong and drum were used to gather everyone and announce such things as meal times, Dharma talks, time to wake up and go to bed.  This continued in many Temples as a way to communicate before the advanced technology we have today.
 
The enormous drum and gong are found hanging under the eaves on either side of the Main Shrine.  Nan Tien Temple abides by the Monastery traditions and sounds the gong & drum every morning at 6am and afternoon at 4.30pm to open and close each day.  In the evening, the drum is hit first and then the gong is sounded.  The order is reversed in the morning.  They are sounded with a solemn, sincere and greatly compassionate heart.