I love São Paulo (Brazil). I’ve been going there since I was 11, and though for the most part that means I was just hanging out with family, every now and then I got to see the beauties of the capital. The Butantan neighborhood especially has so many of my favorite things… Yet, I do understand why so many people argue against my love for São Paulo: they say there are too many buildings, too much of a city life, if there was ever such a thing. I agree that São Paulo isn’t exactly a city to go for inner peace, but I’ve still always loved it with all my being.
But, you know. I am all about that inner-peace-finding kind of place. Which is why the last time I went, this May ’19, I wanted to finally visit the town of Cotia (about 36km away from the capital) and its famous Zu Lai Temple.
The Zu Lai Temple (in Chinese, 如來寺, in Portuguese, “Templo Zu Lai”, lit. Tathāgata Temple) is a Buddhist temple in Cotia, Brazil. It is the largest Buddhist temple in South America with 10,000 square meters of constructed area, inside an area of approximately 150,000 square meters.(Wikipedia)
Okay, you have got to be painting a picture in your head by now. Largest Buddhist temple in all of South America!!! 10,000 square meters of constructed area!!! Inside an area of approximately 150,000 square meters!!! Right, I know I’m just quoting Wikipedia back at you, but those numbers are impressive. If it still needed to be said, the temple is huge.
Also? Prepare to spend some time just on the entrance. It’s seriously beautiful, and the closer you look, the more things there are for you to look.
Now this is where I made a terrible, Very Bad decision: I decided to go to the movies with my family in the middle of the afternoon. Which means I had roughly three hours to spend in the temple. I cannot stress how much more you’ll enjoy it if you come with more time. There are lots of things to do, and especially if you come with family or friends, you’ll want to spend all morning+afternoon. I didn’t get the chance to eat at the restaurant, but there’s one, in addition to a diner.
Come!!! Prepared!!! To!!! Spend!!!! The!!! Day!!!
I’m mostly upset with this because I didn’t get the guided tour that you’re entitled to, as long as you’re in a group of fifteen people. They’re happy to give you the detailed tour, complete with historic information. Be better than me. Get the tour! Is this a good point to mention that there’s no entry fee? Because there isn’t. Boom.
Alas, we did not get the tour we hadn’t even know existed.
There are so many beautiful details that you’ve got to wonder how incredible the tour is, though. Once we were inside and talked with the staff, there’s history to every little decision made in the process of building the temple, and I can’t wait to visit again and find out all about it. The monks are so very sweet and helpful, and the staff is the best.
This was the second Buddhist temple I visited (I’ve also been to The Buddhist Temple of Chagdud Gonpa Khadro Ling; another post idea, maybe?), but there was something very particular here. I’m not sure if it’s because I was with people that were very dear to me, or because the day was so beautiful, but stopping by and appreciating every small thing was something that couldn’t be helped. That picture above, with the fountain? Tiny little fish swimming around, and they were all so beautiful.
Friends, there’s something special about the Zu Lai Temple.
Although we didn’t explore half as much as we would’ve liked, we did go near the lake where so many of the monkeys are found. Yes. Monkeys. Now, I know that the stereotype of Brazilians is that we all have at least a dozen monkeys in our backyards, but the truth is that I had never seen a monkey in my life. And these ones were so tiny! And adorable! They don’t come considerably near you — not enough to steal food, at least not this time — but they come close enough that you can fool yourself into thinking you’re hanging out like buddies. It was glorious.
We were invited by the staff to take part in a meditation class. It was about forty minutes long, and it felt Incredible(TM). It awoke again my passion for meditation and put me right back into my long-forgotten path of spirituality in a way that goes above belief and into more practical terrain. In other words: the meditation practice was badass, and I felt energized to get back into a practice I’ve always loved!
There’s also a meditation course offered by Mestre Jue Xi, that costs only R$ 120,00. You can find more information about it here. That is… not all, though. If you need even more reason to go to this phenomenal place, you can also take classes of Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan, or learn Chinese. Whaaaat?! I kind of hate the fact that I don’t live any near Cotia now, because I’d seriously love to take… all of these courses. Meditation, Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan, Chinese… Can you imagine? Me making posts about learning all these things? CAN YOU THINK OF A HAPPIER BLOGGER?!
Even though I very much do not live in SP and cannot take these courses, though, just going to the temple made me really happy. It seems juvenile at best, describing your experience in a place as “it made me really happy”, but the truth is that it did. Stunning nature, being surrounded by a sense of beauty that transcends beliefs and backgrounds, and spending time with a number of kind, open-minded people, has truly made me happy. Sorry if that’s too simplistic.
SOME IMPORTANT STUFF:
- Open from Tuesdays to Fridays, from 12pm to 5pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9h30am to 5pm
- No entry fee
- Parking lot available for free as well
- Wheelchair accessible
- Restaurant and diner, though I’m not sure how expensive it is
- Gift shop too!! So many Nice Things(TM)!!!
In conclusion: next time you’re near São Paulo, come to Cotia, and visit the Fo Guang Shan Temple Zu Lai. Don’t forget to let me know how it goes!
Alright, I have three questions for you, now: a) have you ever visited a Buddhist temple?, b) have you ever meditated?, and c) would you like to learn Chinese? (Sign up for the course if you’re in SP!!!! Don’t miss this opportunity!!!)
‘Til next time, babes,