EVEN the air feels different at the Nan Tien Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere, at Berkeley near Wollongong.
The overwhelming vibe is one of peace and serenity, regardless of your religious or philosophical beliefs.
The Hungry Mum and Miss 6 visited on a crisp autumn morning recently and immediately felt relaxed and calm. The grounds were almost empty as we quietly explored the pagoda, grounds and main temple.
As we rang the enormous gratitude bell, located up a small hill away from the main temple, we made a silent wish for the health of family members. The resounding gong reverberated through the quiet grounds. Everyone is welcome to visit as long as they respect basic etiquette such as no shoes or hats or taking photos in the temple, maintaining a respectful silence and a certain level of dress.
As it is a Buddhist holy place no alcohol or meat is allowed on the grounds. There are two dining vegetarian options: the dining room and the Dew Drop Inn Cafe.
We chose the steamed dumplings and spring rolls at the cafe, although more substantial meals are on offer.
Sitting in the quiet grounds surrounded by soaring Chinese-style buildings was an experience that will stay with us for a long time.
Miss 6 decided there and then that she is ‘‘half Buddhist’’. The grounds are open Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm.
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