Explore Taipei’s Seashell Coral Temple: A Journey into Spiritual Wonders- Completely in Seashells and Corals

Explore Taipei’s Seashell Coral Temple: A Journey into Spiritual Wonders- Completely in Seashells and Corals

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(此文為英文版部落格,欲看中文版開箱評價文,請點以下連結🔗 / This post is in English; for the Chinese version review, please click on the link below🔗 ):

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I’m a travel junkie and a sucker for SeaWorld. Imagine the excitement I get when I hear about a destination completely constructed with seashells, the Seashell Temple, located right in Sanzhi, Taipei. I always know I am blessed because when I finally find someone as passionate about visiting the temple as I am, it has moved to Shimen, Taipei, where it can expand to an even bigger and more picturesque sight.

We set off from Tamsui. After a short drive, we passed a short, windy road with adorable puppies playing outside—(please be cautious if you’re visiting). We arrive at the temple. Parking is available right in front of the temple—how accessible! I hop off the passenger seat, turn around and gasp in amazement at the sheer size of the temple. It’s even bigger than I imagined!
I’m buzzing with curiosity. I’ve been an atheist my whole life until recently, so this is all new to me. Gratefully, my friend is a pro and guides me to enter from the “Dragon door,” which is located on the right side. Perhaps in awe makes me look completely clueless (which I am, too). At this point, I’m most likely stunned and in awe to the point that I’m spacing out and drooling because a friendly staff member sees me and decides I need help; she approaches me and starts explaining about the gods and temple.
The incense pot at this temple is no ordinary one – it is called a “Sajiewailu
(三界外爐),” which means “outer realm incense burner.”
She says this is unique because, normally, incense burners are placed directly on the ground. But this one was being “carried” by a divine dragon with nine children emerging from its back. I am amazed by such a magnificent and unusual design.
The lady further explains the significance—it’s called “Sanjiewai (三界外)” or “outside the three realms” because the deity it’s dedicated to, Ji Gong, is not bound by the normal earthly realms that we humans are subject to. As a high-level Buddhist master, Ji Gong has transcended the mundane world and travels freely between realms.
That’s why burning incense in this special burner allows direct prayers to reach Ji Gong unobstructed, without normal worldly constraints. Learning about the deeper symbolism behind this sacred temple tradition is truly powerful and enlightening.
When I see the incense ready, I reach out cupped palms to receive them. “Careful now; they’re still lit!” the staff cautions.
Before placing the smouldering incense in the urn, the staff reminds me, “This burner is no ordinary one – it is the said ‘Sajiewailu (三界外爐).”
My eyes widen further. “A three-realm outer burner? What does that mean?!” My 3-second goldfish memory prompts me to ask again. The guide continues her explanation patiently and passionately.
“It means this burner exists outside the normal three realms that bind humans. It is carried by a divine nine-tailed dragon!”
Gasping in wonder again, I listen intently as she shares how this special burner allows our prayers to reach Ji Gong unobstructed between realms. Finally, with utmost care, I deposit the incense.
Billowing smoke trails heavenward from the magnificent ‘sanjiewailu,’ carrying our wishes straight to Ji Gong’s enlightened ears beyond all earthly constraints. I am filled with delighted understanding and reverence.
Stepping through the entrance, I am immediately transported to a wondrous seashell wonderland. I skip joyfully down the paths, twirling and kicking up my feet as I took in the intricate details. “Careful now!” cautions the staff, “The seashells and corals are very delicate.” I snap back to reality, realizing my cane can pose a threat to the structure (and that I am f-ing 37 years old). I tidy up a little and continue in a more ladylike manner, as a 37-year-old person should. How on earth did they make these sculptures out of thousands of tiny seashells? I’m in awe! A cluster of columns caught my eye, each one encrusted with delicately placed shells. “My goodness, gracious!” I exclaim in disbelief.
As I explore further inside, magical sights keep unfolding at every turn. Glorious dragons, coral creatures, and all my favourite Arctic friends stare back at me from the alcoves. If only I had a million dollars to take them all home! I sigh wistfully, snapping pictures to decorate my bedroom instead. This place truly is a treasure trove.
Now, it’s time to descend deeper into the temple‘s mysteries. I can’t wait to see what other wonders await me below! Though part of me doesn’t want this enchanting adventure ever to end, my tummy is starting to rumble, too. I guess I had better hurry up and see what else I could discover before it was time for a late lunch.
I slowly make my way downstairs, gripping the railings with swirling emotions of anticipation and hunger. But all thoughts of food vanish as I step off the final step – what greets me down below is even more stupendous than anything upstairs!
Majestic carvings and sculptures line the walls, each brimming with intricate fantasies. A ferocious tiger glares at me, its eyes seeming to peer into my very soul. I hesitantly wave, feeling very small under its gaze. Nearby, a procession of penguins marches by with their beaks high in the air. It is like witnessing some magical parade!
Lost in the wonders around me, I noticed the group congregating when a kind attendant offered to explain some of the symbolism. My, there is so much depth and history hidden within these halls. I cling to her every word, hanging off each delicious morsel of information. It is like experiencing this whole new dimension I never knew existed.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, she led me to a sacred area topped with a mystical golden roof. My eyes grew as wide as saucers, taking it all in. We then burned offerings together. My prayer must’ve lasted over 50 minutes or so because, by the time I finished, I was in tears and deeply moved. This adventure may be coming to an end, but its magic will stay with me forever.
With a skip and a twirl, I begin making my way back up – but not before picking up some good luck charms to remind me of this enchanted place! I enter the adjacent souvenir shop.
As I continue my journey out of the magical Shimen Seashell Temple, every step feels bittersweet. While my heart is full from all the wonders I have witnessed, my feet are weary, and my belly is restless. Yet, I want this enchanting experience to continue!
Emerging back into the late afternoon light, something glittering in the souvenir shop catches my eye. Drawn like a magnet, I gasp to find an array of mystical jades, accessories and figurines laid out on velvet cloths. I desperately look for one last memento to take home. Sadly, the souvenirs at this temple are all out of my hobo, disabled budget.
I’m instantly drawn to a dancing dragon pendant, its jade eyes gleaming. As I reach for it, another item peeking out captures my attention – could it be? A glimpse of blue fur and orange bill has me shrieking in glee. Clasping the adorable penguin close, I twirl around with glee, my hunger momentarily forgotten.
The shopkeeper scoffs at my antics, warning me not to take photos. Little does she know I’ve already snatched a ton. I wipe happy tears from my eyes. With my new treasures in my phone, it’s finally time for this little explorer to head home—but something strange pulls at my heart.
Though exhausted, I linger by the temple entrance, not ready to leave just yet. Gazing back at its majestic facade one last time, an incredible sense of peace washes over me. I’ll certainly be back to explore more of its mysteries! For now, all that’s left is to hurry home for a long-awaited feast to refuel. This day has been simply magical!

The 4 Major Gods Enshrined at the Shell Temple and Their Origins:

  • The Eighteen Arhats: Guardians of Wisdom and Compassion

The Eighteen Arhats, also known as the Arhats of Southern Tradition, are revered figures in Buddhism who have attained enlightenment and liberation from the cycle of rebirth. They are often depicted as disciples of the Buddha and are highly regarded for their wisdom, compassion and spiritual accomplishments.
The Eighteen Arhats are believed to have originated in ancient India and later entered China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE). They are frequently depicted in Chinese art and literature, and their images are often found in Buddhist temples and monasteries.

  • The Heavenly Mother: Protector of Seafarers and Travelers

The Heavenly Mother, also known as the Queen of Heaven or Mazu, is a popular deity in Chinese folk religion and Taoism. She is believed to be the protector of seafarers and fishermen and is widely worshipped in coastal regions of China and Taiwan.
The origins of the Heavenly Mother can be traced back to the ancient Chinese goddess Nüwa, who is credited with creating humanity and repairing the heavens. Over time, the Heavenly Mother became associated with various seafaring deities and is now considered one of the most important protectors of seafarers and travellers.

  • Guandi: Embodiment of Honor and Loyalty

One of the earliest Taoist gods, Guandi, was historically a Chinese general who lived in the 2nd-3rd century AD. He was deified after his death for his moral virtues and prowess in battle. Guandi became the patron god of martial artists, a protector of the Chinese people, and symbolic of honour, loyalty and righteousness. He is respected at the temple for guarding against harm.

  • Ji Gong Living Buddha: The Unconventional Savior

Ji Gong Living Buddha, also known as the Drunken Monk, is a legendary figure in Chinese mythology and religion. He is believed to be the reincarnation of a Buddhist monk from the Dakshina Gita dynasty (1127-1279 CE).
Ji Gong Living Buddha is known for his eccentric character, unconventional teaching methods and compassion for the poor and marginalized. Sadly, he passed away in 1169 at the age of 51. However, stories of his kind deeds and mischievous exploits began circulating widely in folklore. Over time, Ji Gong became deified as a folk religion figure.
He is often depicted in a decrepit form, holding a ruined fan and a wine glass, and is worshiped for his miraculous powers and ability to help those in need.
He is considered particularly effective in helping those with health problems, financial difficulties and personal struggles.
As the primary deity, Ji Gong is believed to bestow good fortune, solve legal disputes, relieve poverty and bless worshippers with good health and happiness. His statue is placed in the main hall for prayers and offerings. Burning joss sticks and joss paper items and reciting sutras are ways for visitors to pay homage to Ji Gong and appeal for his blessings.

Conclusion: A Tapestry of Divine Blessings

Together, these four gods represent the most important aspects of Chinese spiritual beliefcompassion, protection and well-being. They watch over those who come to the temple seeking solace, safety and good fortune.
The Seashell Temple stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of Chinese spiritual beliefs, where compassion, protection, and well-being intertwine. The Eighteen Arhats, Ji Gong Living Buddha, the Heavenly Mother, and Guandi represent the essence of these virtues, guiding and inspiring those who seek their blessings. Whether you’re a spiritual seeker, a history enthusiast, or simply curious about the wonders of the world, the Seashell Temple awaits your visit, ready to unveil its divine secrets and leave an indelible mark on your soul.
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貝殼廟搬家啦!新景點更大、更震撼 -成千上萬顆貝殼雕琢而成的“貝殼王國” – 殘編的石門貝殼廟探險之旅 / Explore Taipei’s Seashell Coral Temple – A Journey into Spiritual Wonders- Completely in Seashells and Corals

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