Most significant event on Buddhist calendar comes to Illawarra

Nan Tien Temple will hold its annual Buddha’s Birthday Cultural Festival on the Easter long weekend of Friday 18 March – Sunday 20 April. The award winning tourist attraction is the largest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere, and will host a spectacle of activities to celebrate the most significant event in the worldwide Buddhist calendar. Entry is free and all are welcome.


2014 Buddha’s Birthday Cultural Festival HIGHLIGHTS

18-20 April 9:00am-5:00pm

Bathing of the Buddha Ceremony

Venerable Master Hsing Yun One-Stroke Calligraphy Exhibition

Chen Yang Chun Watercolour Painting Exhibition

Lumbini Garden & Life Story of Buddha Display

Vegetarian Food Fair

Arts and Crafts Workshops

Buddha’s Birthday Education Project (11:00am-3:00pm)

Children’s Buddha’s Birthday Party (12:30pm-1:30pm) Bookings requ’d



Reverend Miao You explains, “The significance of this event is to celebrate the Birth, Enlightenment and Parinirvana of Shakyamuni Buddha. We take this opportunity to share with all our friends the Buddha’s message of Universal peace and harmony for humanity and the relevance of his compassionate teachings to create a better world.”


The normally serene and picturesque Temple will be at its most beautiful and vibrant. It will buzz with activities, market stands, and cultural performances. Hundreds of local and national volunteers and Youth Groups will be on-site hosting stalls and activities to make people’s visits memorable, authentic and exciting.

Another key feature of the 2014 celebrations is the inclusion of the Buddha’s Birthday Education Project – a multimedia art exhibition and range of educational activities entitled ‘Through These Doors: Connecting Past and Present, East and West’.

The exhibition is based on the doctoral dissertation by Fo Guang Shan’s Venerable Dr Juewei. The aim of the project is to promote education and understanding of Buddhism. Visitors to the exhibition will learn about the spread of Buddhism from India to China and historic celebrations of the Buddha’s birthday, based on her extensive research.

It will educate visitors on how Buddha's Birthday was celebrated in medieval China. As Buddhism travelled from India to China by way of the Silk Road, emperors and devotees established more than 1000 temples and monasteries, which all joined in celebration for an annual birthday parade of over a thousand Buddha images.

The exhibition, although based on extensively researched academic material, is aimed at all age groups. “We are really catering for families,” explained Venerable Juewei. “Everyone from academics and art lovers, to children and families wanting a culturally engaging and educational day out, will get something out of this multimedia exhibition and celebration.”

“We want to engage every visitor, inspire a celebrative mood, and use modern technology mixed with genuine artefacts and local messages to help all visitors relive a period of exciting medieval Chinese history,” she said.

“Whether you are a Buddhist who wants to come and celebrate and share the joy of Buddha’s Birthday; someone who is interested in experiencing and learning more about Buddhism; or just want a great family day out that educates about a different culture, these celebrations will be a wonderful and enriching experience for you,” said Reverend You.

Entry is free to all Buddha’s Birthday Celebrations, and based previous years' attendances at Buddha's Birthday Celebrations at Nan Tien Temple and Darling Harbour of over 25,000 visitors, is expected to be well-attended.

Upcoming Buddha’s Birthday celebrations around Australia



26-27 April 2014 (Sat-Sun)

Federation Square, Melbourne, VIC

2-4 May 2014 (Fri-Sun)

Southbank Garden, Brisbane, QLD

10-11 May (Sat-Sun)

Darling Harbour, Sydney, NSW


If you would like any information on any of the Buddha’s Birthday Celebrations please visit or contact Jo Halios-Lewis on 4272 0609 or email

Nan Tien Institute (NTI) is Australia’s first tertiary institution grounded in Applied Buddhist wisdom and values.

NTI is a government accredited higher education provider that offers a postgraduate Masters, Diploma and Certificate in Applied Buddhist Studies, and special interest subjects. Its’ tertiary education program commenced in 2011, and NTI already has a number of students who have graduated with a Masters, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate in Applied Buddhist Studies.

NTI has recently expanded to include a Faculty of Health, with postgraduate Health and Social Wellbeing courses preparing Graduates to promote health and wellness in their own lives and in the lives of other individuals and groups in the broader community. The knowledge, insights, and practical skills gained in these courses are highly relevant to community development and the helping professions such as counselling, social work, community health, aged care management, health promotion and health services – as well as advancement of staff, health and wellbeing in the corporate and not-for-profit sector.


NTI will continue to develop a range of postgraduate, undergraduate, single subjects, and research programs. One expansion planned during Semester 2, 2014, is the opening of NTI’s English Language Centre in Sydney’s CBD.


Currently NTI operates from its Temple Campus on-site at the award-winning major tourist attraction Nan Tien Temple – the largest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere – located in Wollongong, south of Sydney. It also has a new Tertiary Campus, Cultural Centre and Art Gallery under construction nearby due to be completed in late 2014.


NTI’s vision is to support and inspire learning and the pursuit of research and creative practice that provides the local region with a place for the exchange of culture and arts, and contributes to the advancement and integration of knowledge, culture and ethical understanding for the benefit of humanity in an increasingly complex and globally interdependent world.


It aims to be recognised internationally for its outstanding location, unique teaching program, world-renowned lecturers and researchers, and inspiring students.