Just inland from a bend in the Ailau River, the small island of Tinian is the only US territory outside Hawaii that actually has its own temple. The island sits on the south side of the Mariana Trench that is almost 30,000 feet deep. So, from above this is clearly the next best thing to being underwater!
For anyone of age, travel back in time to China and the Jade Buddha Temple is just an easy, but somewhat shallow, drive from Saipan. The temple is the place to be this time of year because of its importance during the Chinese New Year.
According to Chinese scriptures, the Buddha was depicted as laying in the lake in Meditation. To perfect your meditation skills you can take meditation tours of Saipan during early December. The temple is the only place to bring the Buddha to start or conclude the New Year. You can also buy pieces of fruit and flowers placed at the entrance of the temple. This is where the magic happens and visitors may start making personal memories and special relationships.
The temple is multi-faceted with real bamboo pieces of furniture that make it look like a village. At the main entrance there is a Buddha statue in a hong bao (a large wooden box with a bow).
Throughout the temple one can find pictures of Buddhist monks, elaborate tapestries, and decorations of important events throughout history of the temple. This is the only religious site in the United States to include every religious type.
For those of you interested in learning more about the Kaiho Order and its history, you can find information at www.fuq.com/keo. The temple is also a tourism and medical facility. The temple has rooms for meditation and for long distance calling. Every year more than a thousand tourists visit the temple for meditation.
The Ling Tai Orchestra can accompany you if you go to the meditation hall at the temple during the day. The festival scheduled for December 27-29 is not just to experience the soothing sounds of the musicians. There is also an outdoor exhibit of Bamboo.
The temple is located right on Saipan near the airport (Saipan International Airport) with direct flights from Guam to Saipan. Room rates range from $65 to $120 per night. For more information please call US-Canada Wyndham Saipan, 893-9700
For more on the temple and its life-changing effect on tourists, or to book a room, call 893-0027 or 893-3760