Amsterdam is a city of surprises and you need to be a good observer to explore all the attractions offered by the city. You may have heard of the coffee shops that sell marijuana, the Moulin Rouge, the Red Light District, the famous museums, and many other popular tourist attractions in the city, but have you heard of the He Hua Buddhist temple in the city? If not, you should definitely include the place in your Amsterdam tours itinerary as the temple is worth a visit.
As you walk down the Zeedijk Street in the center of the city that connects Prins Hendrikkade and Nieuwmarkt square, you may not be able to see what is awaiting you on the sharp bends. However, in between the diverse row of restaurants, coffee shops, and bars, you will not miss the He Hua Buddhist temple, that is located in a corner. The traditional Chinese palace architecture of the temple is not an easy one to miss and will catch the attention of even the most lazy eyes.
The name of the Buddhist temple, He Hua, translates to “Lotus Flower”. The temple was opened in the year 2000, and since then it acts as a center for Humanistic Buddhism that seeks to integrate Buddhist spirituality into the lives of all the people practicing it. The Chinese name of the temple also highlights its mission to educate the locals and tourists about Buddhism. The temple is free to enter and you can see many volunteers who offer Amsterdam tours of the place and provide details to curious tourists.
The entrance to the He Hua temple is a series of three arches, as the number three has rich symbolism for the Buddhists. The central arch is reserved for use by the nuns and monks, and the smaller ones are for the common people. The entrance will take you to a central shrine that is devoted to Kuan Yin, who was one of the chief bodhisattvas of Buddhism in Asia. She is also referred to as the “Goddess of Mercy” in the region. You can also notice the statues of the dharma protectors Qie Lan and Wei Tuo on her sides.
The Śākyamuni shrine in the temple is dedicated to the great Siddhartha Gautama, and you can find many identical statues of Siddhartha Gautama in the shrine, which is used to show the omnipresence of the “Buddha nature.” The temple also has many animal statues and brilliant roof tiles that represent Chinese zodiac to astonish visitors on Amsterdam tours.