Mon, Jan 13, 2014 - Page 11 News List

Monk donated 100 Buddhist statues for dangerous intersections
危險路口立佛像 法師七年捐百尊

Buddhist monk Shih Kuo-chuan, right, poses with a man in Pingtung County on Jan. 6 in front of a Buddhist statue that Shih donated.
法師釋果川(右)一月六日在屏東縣一尊其捐贈的佛像前,與一名男士合照。

Photo: Chiu Chih-jou, Liberty Times照片:自由時報記者邱芷柔

Before road safety conditions are improved, people often erect Buddhist statues at dangerous intersections to petition the Buddhist lineage to bless and protect passersby. Seven years ago Shih Kuo-chuan, formerly head monk at Fo-En Temple in Pingtung County’s Ligang Township, made a vow to donate Buddhist statues, and to date more than 100 of the statues he has donated have been placed at such intersections. Shih, 77, has decided this year to donate his last Buddhist statue and is currently looking for an ordained location to put it so that **commuters** can be protected.

Shih says that seven years ago, receiving inspiration from “Amitabha’s 48 vows,” he made a vow to donate 48 Buddhist statues. As people continuously donated private land near dangerous intersections in hopes of erecting Buddhist statues to keep commuters safe, however, he ended up donating more statues than initially expected. Statues donated by Shih can be found as far away as Greater Tainan’s Meiling area, and he no longer remembers exactly how many statues have been donated.

Shih’s Buddhist statues can be seen at every intersection in Pingtung County’s Chaojhou Township where car accidents frequently occur. The lighting equipment surrounding the statues **illuminate** intersections that had previously been dark, which Sihchun Borough Warden Huang Tsai-sheng says actually has reduced the number of traffic accidents. People slow down when they see Buddhist statues at intersections. The residents of his borough are **grateful** for Shih’s good deeds, Huang says, adding that in private everyone calls him a living bodhisattva.

Shih says that it costs around NT$100,000 to have a Buddhist statue manufactured. In the past, the cost was usually covered by donations from local temples, he says. Half a year ago, however, Shih decided to retire from his post as head monk, as he was getting on in years, and used his savings to have Buddhist statues made. Shih still has one more statue to donate and hopes to find that last fateful intersection in need of a statue before he dies, giving it a proper place to sit and protect the area.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. commuter n.

通勤者 (tong1 qin2 zhe3)

例: Davis, California has the largest number of bicycle commuters in the US.

(加州戴維斯是美國腳踏車通勤者最多的地方。)

2. illuminate v.

照明;照亮 (zhao4 ming2; zhao4 liang4)

例: Moonlight illuminated the entire town during the blackout.

(停電時月亮照亮了整個小鎮。)

3. grateful adj.

感謝的;感激的 (gan3 xie4 de5; gan3 ji1 de5)

例: Although I am very grateful for your offer I must decline.

(我雖然對你提出的條件很感激,但我必須拒絕。)


在道路安全未改善前,常見民眾在危險路口豎立佛像,祈求佛祖保佑平安,原在屏東縣里港鎮佛恩寺擔任住持的法師釋果川,七年前發願捐贈佛像,累積至今已捐出逾百座路口佛像,七十七歲的釋果川決定今年捐出最後一尊佛像,目前正積極尋找「有緣地」,守護過路人安全。

釋果川說,他七年前以「阿彌陀佛四十八願」發願捐出四十八尊佛像,但陸續有民眾捐出危險路口旁的私人土地,希望豎立佛像保佑過路人平安,佛像就越捐越多,最遠到台南梅嶺都有他捐贈的佛像,詳細的數目也記不清了。

屏東縣潮州鎮常發生車禍的路口,都能看見釋果川豎立的佛像,四春里里長黃財盛說,佛像四周的照明設備讓原本陰暗的路口變亮,確實減少車禍發生,民眾看見佇立在路口的佛像也會減速慢行,里民們相當感念釋果川的善行,私底下都稱他是活菩薩!

釋果川表示,一尊佛像造價約需十萬元,以往多由寺廟香油錢供養,半年前他自認年事已高,退下住持位置後,利用自己的積蓄打造佛像,現在剩下最後一尊,希望能找到需要路口佛像的有緣地,在他有生之年,讓最後一尊佛像安坐,守護地方。

〔自由時報記者邱芷柔〕

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