The 5 Best Places to Experience Buddhism in Asia
When it comes to a search for spiritual enlightenment and the exploration of Buddhism, the continent of Asia beats the rest of the world hands down. Below are five fantastic locations where you can see Buddhist temples and immerse yourself in the spirituality of the area.
Lets take a look at some of the very best Buddhist sites in Asia!
1. Wat Phra Sing – Thailand
This complex in Thailand remains quintessentially Buddhist, thanks to a prevailing air of calm that exists despite the hustle and bustle of the marketplace around the complex. The temple consists of mostly wood, and the Gilded Hall features a skilfully carved, multi-tiered roof. You’ll see orange-robed monks strolling tranquilly around the complex and trainee monks reading scriptures.
2. The Dambulla Caves – Sri Lanka
The Dambulla temple cave complex in Sri Lanka is simply magnificent and serves as a home to more than 150 Buddha statues. Frescoes, set out as an ancient comic strip, tell the life of the Buddha. Princes, animals and sadhus all appear in the frescoes. Some frescoes are vivid in their colouring, a sign of their more recent addition to the caves, whereas others are slightly more down to earth in their colouring and have been there since much older times.
3. Haeinsa Temple – South Korea
If you’re looking to read Buddhist texts, the place to go is the Haeinsa Temple, in South Korea. The temple has made its name as the oldest depository in the world of the Tripitaka Koreana, the most complete collection of Buddhist texts. These were all engraved onto some 80,000 blocks of wood between 1237 and 1248 and are as much celebrated for the artistry that has gone into them as for the size of the collection itself. The temple’s buildings data back as far as the 15th century, and it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
4. Bodh Gaya – India
Bodh Gaya is the most important of the pilgrimage sites connected to the life of Buddha and is associated with the Mahabodi Temple. It is considered the location where Buddha became enlightened and became the Buddha under a Bo tree. The Mahabodi Temple itself replaces various shrines which have previously marked this significant spot in the Buddha’s life. The central tower of the temple reaches for the skies at 180 feet (54 metres).
5. Shwedagon Pagoda – Myanmar
One of the most fabulous things about Shwedagon Pagoda is the very fact that it’s located in the beautiful country of Myanmar, which has started to open itself up to tourism only in more recent years. As a result, the location remains relatively unspoilt. You’ll find the pagoda on Singuttara Hill and it’s the holiest pagoda in Myanmar. People also refer to Shwedagon Pagoda as the “Great Dagon Pagoda” and the “Golden Pagoda”.
Asia simply spoils visitors looking for spiritual enlightenment, thanks to its massive range of Buddhist temples. For further Buddhist experiences, you may wish to visit the Buddhist capital of Vietnam, Yen Tu, but be sure to take out some travel insurance because your visit will likely involve a trek into the hills, so you’ll need to be careful in case you have a fall. You’ll have to climb the Yen Tu mountain to reach the Dong Pagoda, where the third emperor of the Dong dynasty came to start his life as a Buddhist monk after abdicating the throne.
Wherever you decide to visit, however, you won’t fail to become lost in the beauty of the locations or in their serene atmosphere. Soak it all up and enjoy the experience.