2020 Taiwan

27/11, ride around the Island, day 9, Fo Guang Shan

A while back someone told me about the pilgrim’s lodge that is part of the Fo Guang Shan Monastery, which is located here in the south of Taiwan. I was told that normally the lodge would allow for tourists to stay overnight, so I figured that this lodge would be an interesting place to spend the night. Before my trip I emailed the lodge, asking them if they had any beds available. Unfortunately, due to the whole covid thing, the lodge is currently closed for foreigners. However, the monk that replied to my email did offer me to give me a guided tour 😊 So we emailed back and forth a bit to make arrangements and finally agreed to meet between 1100 and 1200. This meant I cut today’s 120k ride short to about 70k, because the monk had said that I could easily spend multiple days at the monastery 😯 I must say my body was quite happy to have an easy day. My legs are still quite sore from my record climb on the day before yesterday. So this morning I left at 0700 and pounded away the 70k, over mainly flat terrain with some shitty steep climbs in between. I arrived at the monastery at 1130, quite curious to see what my digital monk would look like 😂It turned out to be a 60 something year old Austrian guy, who’s been a Buddhist since he was 16 and has lived in the Fo Guang Shan monastery for the past 20 years and is now in charge of dealing with all foreign tourists. It means that he currently does not have much to do 🙈so with a lot of patience he took me around the massive complex, showing me all different shrines and explaining me a lot about Buddhism and all its rituals, and introducing me to a lot of other monks and volunteers 😊 I felt incredibly welcome and I’ve learned a lot. Great way to spend an afternoon off the bike! Thank you so much for this wonderful experience 🙏🏻

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