Pǔtuóshān White Temple 普陀山白衣道場 is one of the stranger temples I have visited in Taiwan. Named after Putuoshan, one of the holy mountains of Chinese Buddhism, and dedicated to the worship of Guanyin 觀音, goddess of mercy, it appears to have been built in 2004. Apart from these basic details it seems like very little is known about this mysterious temple.
Most temples in Taiwan are open to the public and welcome visitors. Not this one! Very little information apart from a phone number can be found online—and even Taiwanese bloggers express befuddlement that such a beautiful and eye-catching temple would maintain such secrecy. Why attract all that attention if you aren’t going to be at all inviting?
I was out on a mission to the badlands of southern Taiwan when I noticed the gleaming white temple on the mountainside while rounding a bend in the highway. After sidling up the hillside to a parking spot about halfway up I disembarked to explore the temple grounds.
Curiously, there wasn’t anyone around whatsoever—and all the doors were locked. The place looked entirely vacant but not abandoned. Peering through the glass doors I could see candles lit inside—and small tufts of smoke wafter out of the censer in front of the main hall. I walked around and took a few photos before hitting the road again. I have to admit that the temple had started to give me the creeps.
For more about this temple you’ll have to turn to the Chinese language blogosphere here, here, here. If anyone out there with better Chinese language abilities would like to do some additional research into this place feel free to leave a comment with your findings.