|Eternal Spring Shrine|
We neared the main road and saw a sign for a different Buddhist monastery, but noticed no vehicles heading up that direction. We figured what the heck, why not check it out? It turned out to be a great choice—it was a highlight of our entire trip to Taiwan.
|Chan Guang Monastery 禪光寺|
Chan Guang probably has many translations, but I think an apt rendition is The Glory of Meditation. The temple itself sits up on a hill, above a wide staircase and surrounded by the dense subtropical forest common in Taiwan. And of course, the everpresent singing of cicadas.
|The grounds at Chan Guang|
We wandered around the empty plaza and took pictures of the beautiful surroundings and of each other. After the crowds of the other tourist spots in Taroko, this was a wonderfully refreshing retreat.
|The forest around Chan Guang|
As we relaxed, I kept hearing the sound of Buddhist meditation chants and so decided to investigate. The music got louder as I climbed to the third floor. At the top, a large meditation chamber with three giant golden Buddha statues overlooked the whole valley. I’d hoped to see monks chanting, but I guess they’d retired for the day. Instead, they had a recording of the chanting monks. And it wasn’t a cheesy tape player, either. It was a powerful sound system with concert-quality speakers, and the hall had awesome acoustics.
It’s hard to understate the beauty and peace one felt while standing in that large hall, listening to the mesmerizing chants, overlooking the steep, green hills as clouds floated past the nearby peaks. I wanted to set up a lawn chair and just camp out forever.
|Bridge and stairs up to the bell tower|
|Bell tower above Chan Guang|
All I can say about this whole excursion is, Wow! Had we not thought to take a less-used road away from the tour buses, we’d never have had such a memorable experience.
|On the bell tower, overlooking Chan Guang Temple|