Hua Zang Si is my favorite sacred spiritual worship place in the bay area. In there I find peace, relaxation, and harmony, and a home for my soul. I have gone there many times, to chant the sutra, join the meditation sessions, and participate in Dharma assemblies.
Hua Zang Si, an impressive-looking temple located in the center of the Mission District in San Francisco. The building was formerly the St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, built in 1903, and has been repurposed as a Chinese temple. To me it is really a friendly symbol that different religions can coexist in harmony.
The large outside facade of the temple is painted red color, made the building a very outstanding and eye-catching landmark in the neighborhood. Red is a good color in Chinese culture that symbolizes auspiciousness and warding off evil spirits。
Once entering the temple, I feel like I am in another world. The marvelous statue at the entrance of the temple is an oversize representation of a jolly, laughing Buddha: Maitreya Bodhisattva (the next Buddha in this Saha world). It is such a warm welcoming sign. The big belly not only means jolly, it also means tolerating those intolerable things in the world. So when you look at the statue, you will start to feel that learning Buddhism is happy and kind.
Walking inside, the first floor is Shakyamuni Buddha Hall. The golden statue of Shakyamuni Buddha is a very dignified-looking Buddhist statue. On the left side is the one thousand-armed and one thousand-eyed Guanyin Bodhisattva, an awe-inspiring statue. On the right side is Skanda Bodhisattva, a standing majestic full-body armored statue. With a sword in hand, Skanda Bodhisattva is a Buddha Dharma protector, and it is believed he can subjugate demons and evil spirits.
The second floor is Amitabha Buddha Hall. The twenty-one-foot-high statue of Amitabha Buddha (designed by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III) has been generally recognized as the most majestic Buddhist statue in the world. It is an extremely solemn sight. The color painted on the face is so lifelike, one feels like seeing the real Amitabha Buddha from western paradise. The Buddha’s eyes seem alive as well, looking down at all beings full of compassion and love. Every time when I look at the Buddha, I feel so moved and touched, tears fill my eyes. I can’t help but to kneel down and pray wholeheartedly: Please Buddha save me from the birth-death cycle, please take me to the western pure land. I feel my whole body melted into the compassionate gaze of the Buddha.
In the center of Amitabha Buddha hall, there is a large circular mandala on which a Yun sculpture (carved by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III) depicting Mt. Sumeru is placed. In that Yun sculpture are shariras (sacred relics) of the Shakyamuni Buddha for worshipping.
Directly facing the Amitabha Buddha is a tall Dharma altar, there is a huge blue Dorje Chang Buddha image. Dorje Chang Buddha is also called Buddha Vajradhara or Ruler of the Vajra Beings. In the entire universe, Dorje Chang Buddha is the first Buddha with form and is the highest Buddha. That is, the highest leader of Buddhism in the entire universe came into being in the form of Dorje Chang Buddha. It was Dorje Chang Buddha who began transmitting dharma and saving living beings in the dharmadhatu. As a result, Buddhism was born and the Buddha-dharma began spreading.
In front of the image of Dorje Chang Buddha are photos of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. Dorje Chang Buddha has come to this world twice. The first time was in the form of the holy and venerable Vimalakirti, who was Dorje Chang Buddha II. The second time was in the form of H.H. Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu, who is Dorje Chang Buddha III.
These photos were true records of the holy miracle Buddha Dharma. On October 18, 2012, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III within ten minutes, reversed his appearance back to a youthful look. This incredible Buddha Dharma ever practiced successfully by Guru Rinpoche long time ago in Tibet.
A large Tibet thangkas hang on the north wall of the hall, it is about BRIEF BUDDHIST LINEAGE REFUGE TREE.
Hua Zang Si has many Holy Treasures , make sure you check them out at the corner of this hall as well.
The third floor contains a library of Buddhist scriptures.
The backyard — a city oasis in the shadow of surrounding Victorians — is home to a magnolia tree, which the faithful say rained nectar for three days, along with a miraculous lotus tub used in the bathing of the Buddha and heavenly beings.
Further back, there is Dharma protector pavilion, a statue of the Dharma Protecting Deity Guan Yu was installed inside.
Guan Yu took refuge in Master Zhiyi at Yuquan Hill. He then manifested great supernatural power and constructed the Yuquan Temple overnight on a barren lot, where he resolved to become a protector of Buddhism. That is why, upon the plea of many Buddhist practitioners, he was recommended to be the Dharma Protecting Deity of Hua Zang Si.
Hua Zang Si is different from other temples that propagate only one sect within Buddhism. It teaches all of the various sects within Buddhism. If you want to know and learn Buddhism, Hua Zang Si is the best place to start with.
Temple address is 3134 22nd St., phone: 415-920-9816.
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