Saturday, 23 May 2009
Nan Tien temple: - mountains and sea
Above: At the top of the steps, with my back to the pagoda (shown yesterday), we look over Mount Kembla. Apparently the site for the temple was chosen because of its location between mountains and sea. Mount Kembla is said to have an auspicious resemblance to a recumbent lion.
Mt Kembla forms part of the Illawarra escarpment, itself part of the eastern part of Australia's Great Dividing Range. Here it comes extremely close to the sea. When Captain Cook saw it as he sailed along Australia's east coast in 1770, he noted it as 'a round hill', its top resembling a hat.
Kembla is an Aboriginal word meaning "wild game abundant" or "plenty of game". The Aborigines called the area "jum-bullah" or "Djembla" which means a wallaby. Mount Kembla has been described as a "sub-tropical belt of rainforest " which "housed a variety of game life which provided an abundant food supply". Meat is banned in the precincts of the temple; Buddhists are vegetarian.
Left: There is no escaping the fact that Wollongong is a major industrial city, most famous for its steel works in the suburb of Port Kembla. I took the photo looking towards the sea and Port Kembla from the first platform of the pagoda.