The Nan Tien Temple is known as ‘Southern Paradise’, and with good reason – it’s a tranquil haven
From Sydney’s CBD, Nan Tien Temple is approximately an hour-and-a-half to two-hour drive, and is certainly well worth the trek. Upon entering the large gates, you’re immediately transported into a peaceful haven with immaculately kept gardens arranged around large temples and cultural buildings.
The main shrine – the Great Hero Hall – is the centrepiece of the grounds. Once you’ve removed your shoes and taken a step inside, you’ll see the five Buddhas of Confidence, Longevity, Wisdom, Inner Beauty and Peace. Surrounded by these, on the walls, are 10,000 smaller Buddhas. They are there to remind us that everyone can achieve Buddhahood.
Once you’ve taken in the shrines and the pagoda, wander down to Nan Tien’s lotus pond. In the summertime, the pond is awash with blossoms. The lotus flower is one of the most prominent Buddhist symbols, representing enlightenment and purity. The idea being that just as the lotus flower grows from swampy ground into an incredibly beautiful and fragrant flower, so too can people grow and emerge from ignorance to become pure.
Once you’ve had a good look around, you may want to duck up to the dining hall for some lunch. Open from Tuesday to Friday from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm, and 11.30 am to 2.30 pm on weekends and public holidays, it offers guests a plate of vegetarian lunch with noodles, rice and vegetables for $12.
As the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere, there’s a lot to take in, and you could easily spend the entire day here. On top of being an incredibly beautiful place to visit, it’s also free, with no entry charges and complimentary visitor parking.
Nan Tien Temple is true gem that’s well worth the drive.
By Katie Preston Toepfer
Nan Tien Temple t: (02) 4272 0600 a: 180 Berkeley Road, Berkeley, NSW 2506