Nestled in a suburb, in the seaside city of Wollongong, just 80kms south of Sydney, is the Nan Tien Temple and the Nan Tien Institute. This is the largest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere. The choice of location by the Taiwan-based Fo Guang Shan was a very carefully considered decision. It is another blend of Modern and Ancient Buddhism at work.
Wollongong was open to the idea, being already a multicultural and tolerant city. Master Hsing Yun of Fo Guang Shan considered that the location, between the mountains and the sea, were perfect according to the rules of feng shui. That is in effect is why Wollongong became the location of the largest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere.
20 years on and there is now a university. The Nan Tien Temple always blended seamlessly into Wollongong. When it first opened in 1995, the other churches all welcomed them with open arms. This has been a major benefit for the city, and with students coming to study at the University, the beneficial relationship will continue to prosper.
About the Nan Tien Temple
Nan Tien means Southern Paradise in Chinese and it has become the biggest draw card in Wollongong, attracting tourists from all over the world. It has also attracted many people wanting to explore more about this branch of Humanistic Buddhism, which aims to guide you through challenges in life and to promote a harmonious society through helping those in need. With the opening of the Nan Tien Institute, students now come to study at Australia’s first government accredited tertiary institution grounded in Buddhist values and wisdom.
About Fo Guang Shan
The Nan Tien Temple is part of Fo Guang Shan and was founded in 1965 by Master Hsing Yun. Fo Guang Buddhism is based on the Mahayana tradition and started in Taiwan. This is an accessible version of Buddhism, which is very much focused on people being able to see and witness the monks in daily life. It is termed Humanistic Buddhism.
The Nan Tien Institute
The aim of The Nan Tien Temple is to share and promote Buddhism and to promote understanding between Western and Eastern cultures. The Nan Tien Temple opened in 1995, and on its 20th anniversary, The Nan Tien Institute officially opened.
There are two other Nan Tien Institutes, the University of the West in California, USA (est 1990), and Taiwan’s Fo Guan University (est 1993) and Nan Hua University (est 1996). It officially opened in March 2015 though it has been running since the previous year.
The Institute was built on a former garbage tip next to the Nan Tien Temple. The design was inspired by the lotus flower. The lotus flower rises from the mud to be a beautiful flower as the unique Institute also has.
“The structure of the building was formed by grouping spaces into four distinct ‘pods’, The ‘pods’ are linked by active bridges, allowing for the movement through the building to be a journey buy cialis 5mg comprised of moments, destinations and thresholds”
Since the opening of the temple in October 1995, it has become a major venue for local and international tourists and also acts as an important cultural centre bridging both eastern and western cultures.
As Wollongong and indeed Australia is highly multi-cultural, it works seamlessly. There are many ceremonies associated with the Buddhist calendar that take place at the Nan Tien Temple. With its inclusiveness, many local people attend many of the ceremonies, eat at the Dew Drop Inn Tea House or the Dining Hall.
It is the norm for us to see the monks, and many are female, at the shops and just going about daily life. The followers of Fo Guang Buddhism, endeavor to bring Buddhism into daily life by example and the followers in Wollongong have increased, but not in a cult type way.
Eat at Nan Tien Temple
The Dining Hall serves healthy vegetarian foods. It is open for public from Tuesday to Friday, 11.30 am – 2.00 pm and 11.30 am – 2.30 pm on weekends and public holidays.
Stay at the Nan Tien Temple
You can stay at the Nan Tien Temple. Pilgrim Lodge is a 100 room facility (motel), which is open all year round. No Smoking, Alcohol or Meat of any kind is permitted on the Temple grounds. There are opportunities to participate in a guided tour, experience the drum and bell ceremony, enjoy Tai Chi, meditation, or just to enjoy the beautiful and lush gardens.
What to Wear and Codes of Conduct
You will find yourself very welcome here. However, you need to wear appropriate clothing, and make sure that your shoulders are covered. A sarong is a good idea. Make sure that you are suitably covered. No shorts, singlets or thongs.
Remove shoes and hats before entering the shrines.
Take note of signage of where you can and can’t photograph.
No Smoking, Alcohol or Meat to be brought on to the grounds of the Nan Tien Temple.
The Nan Tien Temple is about 10 minutes south of the CBD of Wollongong.
180 Berkeley Road,
Berkeley, NSW 2506
Getting to Nan Tien Institute
NTI is easily accessible by car, bus and train. A bus stop is located close to the gates, and a train station is a comfortable 10-minute walk away. The Campus is also conveniently located on major road and transport links and offers free on-site parking.
Take Bus 34 – Wollongong to Warrawong Via Berkeley and the bus will stop at the back of the temple at Nolan Street.
From Sydney or Wollongong, take the train to Unanderra station (South Coast Line) Timetable on CityRail
Walk. 20-30 minutes Walk to the left-hand side of the station(Industrial side) up Berkeley Rd to the end (approximately 1Km). Turn right and keep to the right-hand side of the road and you will see the temple’s main gate.
Catch Bus 34 at Unanderra Shops to Nolan Street.
Taxi. Call 4229 9311
Nan Tien Temple, Wollongong, Australia is a must visit for anyone coming to the beautiful city of Wollongong, Australia.
I would definitely be interested in visiting this temple when I go to Australia, tentatively 2016.
I hope we can take you to see the Nan Tien Temple Patti, when you come.
I don’t think I have ever heard of the Nan Tien Temple but you have ensured that our next trip to Wollongong will include a visit to the temple. Thanks for mentioning the dress code. We usually go to Wollongong to cycle so without your reminder I doubt that we would have been dressed appropriately and I would hate to offend the monks.
Lyn, they do have sarongs there for people who have forgotten. When you next cycle to Wollongong, stop for lunch at the Nan Tien Temple, who will love it.
We went a long time ago – tempted to make another visit…Love the lanterns.
The Nan Tien Temple is easy to visit many times. The lanterns are wonderful
It looks like whoever built the Nan Tien Temple has created something very special, promoting peace and contemplation. And judging by how it was received, they chose the right place to do it!
We are very fortunate to have the Nan Tien Temple here, and it is special
These pictures look amazing. I always thought it would be a special treat to see one of these temples. I also would love to see all the red lanterns around the city, especially when they rerelease a bunch of them. Thanks for an informative post.
Thank you. There are always a number of festivals and celebrations at the Nan Tien Temple, like Chinese New Year and it is spectacular.
I didn’t realise that there was a temple of this size in Wollongong. I found it fascinating how the location was chosen.
It has obviously been incredibly beneficial for the city with the university now being there as well as attracting visitors to the town.
It was a world wide search to find the location, and I think that because we are multicultural was also a draw card.
Thanks for the introduction to Nan Tien Temple and Humanistic Buddhism — I hadn’t heard that before. And I’m all for anything that promotes understanding between cultures. Interesting that visitor can stay at the temple. I think that would be a great experience.
It is Catherine. As I said in a previous comment, we used to take our students there as do many other schools in the region; it is an excellent way to understand cultural understanding.
How surprising that the largest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere is in Australia! And that you can dine and lodge on site. I hope to get there some day.
It is, and for it to be located in our own home town makes us proud.
Your photos make this look like an interesting place to visit and absorb a peaceful atmosphere and I love it’s multicultural focus. I also love the fact that all the Buddhas have a smile on their faces!
We are very fortunate to live in a very multicultural city. I always assumed everywhere in Australia was, but apparently some places are mor monocultural, which is sad
Thanks for the great information. How cool that you can eat and stay at the Temple too.
It is great and many of us just drop out for a meal and of course, we take visitors there. When we got married a number of our guests stayed there.
Beautiful photos! It’s amazing that people can stay at a Lodge beside the temple and bask in the feel.
I used to take my school students to the Nan Tien Temple and we would stay and do different activities. It was a very good thing.
The serenity comes through in your photos. I love that the location was chosen with feng shui and that the humanistic aspect of Buddhism is the focus. So many of the tenets of Buddhism can be adopted to live a more peaceful, contented and balanced life. Just beautiful.
I have a great deal of respect for Buddhism and for the humanistic Buddhism of the Nan Tien Temple. It is just a part of all of our lives here in Wollongong and that is a very good thing.