Buddhist monks help Pienaarspoort?s poor Print E-mail
News - Ons Mense
Monday, 22 June 2009 18:00
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Representatives from the Nan Hua Temple, Bronkhorstspruit handed emergency rations to the inhabitants of plot 45 Pienaarspoort with the help of Boschkop police officers on 23 May. Inspector Wynand van der Merwe from the SAPD Boschkop was approached to help these representatives to hand out the parcels the day before the event. Wynand said that it was such short notice that he doubted he’d get enough police personnel to help him 9 am the next morning.

However, Wynand found that his reservists were eager to help. Constables C Malan, B Malan and S Janse van Rensburg arrived at plot 45, Pienaarspoort for a heart-warming experience they will never forget.

Last year The Bronberger reported that Donkerhoek’s Avondzon squatters and their 146 shacks were moved to the edge of the Hatherley rubbish dump by the Nokeng tsa Taemane Municipality during the last two weeks of August. Plot 45, Pienaarspoort falls within the 800 meters buffer zone around a waste disposal site, a zone declared unfit for human habitation according to international law.

Reservists from the Boschkop Police Station helped distribute emergency rations to residents of plot 45, Pienaarspoort
Photo: Wynand van der Merwe

The plight of these people came to the attention of the Nan Hua Temple and Buddha’s Light International Association. Nan Hua is the name of the South African branch for the Humanistic Buddhist order, Fo Guang Shan.

The Nan Hua Temple is situated in Cultura Park, a suburb of Bronkhorstspruit. The story of why this Buddhist Temple was built in Bronkhorstspruit started in 1991 when the town’s chief executive, Dr Hennie Senekal, was visiting Taiwan to promote investment opportunities in Bronkhorstspruit.

Venerable Master Hsing Yun told Hennie about his dream to build a temple in Africa. He said that a temple and guesthouse would also attract tourists and other business ventures to Bronkhorstspruit. The area’s natural beauty, room for growth and industries, available skilled labour, infrastructure and its proximity to Johannesburg, Pretoria, Witbank and an international airport were the deciding factors for choosing Bronkhorstspruit.

Boschkop reservists with Nan Hua’s Buddhist monks
Photo: Wynand van der Merwe

After the meeting in 1991, planning started, and when the temple designs were put onto paper, fundraising began. The contract was signed in Taiwan on 8 March 1992, and Bronkhorstspruit Council donated 14 hectares of land to Nan Hua.Construction began in October 1993 with architects Brandt, Snyman, Spruit and Crafford and contractor P Gerolemou Construction Group. Ninety-five percent of the construction materials came from South Africa, including the Chinese style concrete castings of the first floor balcony handrail, which where made in Pretoria.

The red wooden furniture, glazed clay roof tiles and ornaments were imported from Taiwan. The granite, stone, red clay and bronze ornaments, including the large bronze bell, came from China. Wall paintings were done by Taiwanese artists on site.

Nan Hua monks in front of the temple construction works
Photo: Nan Hua

Since 1993 the Nan Hua Main Temple, the Nan Hua Temple Guesthouse, African Buddhist Seminary, Nan Hua Village, assembly hall and Zen Retreat Centre have been completed and are continuously being upgraded.

The African Buddhist Seminary campus was built from 1991 to 1994 and includes classrooms and accommodation for about 150 people. The Nan Hua Temple Guesthouse offers accommodation for over 150 people in 72 rooms. There is separate accommodation for male and female guests and all guests are expected to refrain from smoking inside the building, drinking alcohol or eating meat.

The guesthouse is open to anyone interested in going to the temple for a quiet spiritual retreat, such as the variety of meditation retreats held throughout the year, to learn about Buddhism, or to help with local charity work.

The Buddhist community, consisting of resident monks and nuns, both Chinese and non-Chinese staff and lay people, as well as the Buddhist Seminary novices, helps in a variety of religious, cultural, community and charitable activities. They also cultivate nearby farms. For more information contact the Nan Hua Temple at 013-931-0009 or send an e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Nan Hua Temple, Bronkhorstspruit
Photo: Nan Hua

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