A Visit to the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple

Located in an area of 4 hectares in Flatbush, Auckland, Fo Guang Shan is one of over 200 centres under the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order. 

The temple is free to visit (a dress code applies - ladies should not wear tanks or shorts and no jandals).  There is a welcome desk at the Front Shrine and we were invited to light a stick of incense and leave it in front of a statue of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva.

We walked around the Chan Gardens and admired the Novice Monks and Stone Lights.

We visited the Art Gallery and admired calligraphy and cultural displays.  We looked into the Main Shrine and the statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism from just outside (shoes need to be removed to enter the shrine).

We'd hoped to visit the popular Water Drop Vege Cafe on our way out but the queue was spilling out the door.  We'll have to return to sample the healthy vegetarian food.

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3 wacky tourist attractions in New Zealand

Last Friday husband and I took a drive from Queenstown to Wanaka.  Wanaka is a beautifully scenic town set on Lake Wanaka and one of the most popular attractions is That Wanaka Tree, a lone willow which grows in the lake.  Husband wasn't best impressed though.  After we'd gotten lost trying to find it, when he eventually saw it he said 'is that it?' and started photographing a beautiful autumnal tree nearby.

It made me think of a couple of other wacky tourist attractions in New Zealand.  In Wellington, on Cuba Street there is a bucket fountain. Since 1969 this bright kinetic structure has taken pride of place among pedestrians.

But my favourite wacky attraction is the Lemon and Paeroa bottle.  L&P is a lemon flavoured soft drink and a seven-metre bottle stands tall in Paeroa.  An obligatory photo with the bottle is a must!

On turning 40

By now you're probably all aware that the 19th of May is a very special date.  Yup - Prince Harry is to marry Ms. Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor.  They do make a lovely couple and I wish them all the best.

But I shall be having secondary celebrations of my own!  I will be celebrating my 40th birthday, hurrah!  According to the Huffington Post, I can look forward to being stronger, more resilient and knowing my own mind.  The Metro paints a less encouraging picture though - I'm not sure I'm ready to tick the 40+ box on surveys and I don't yet have friends who are grandparents.

My friends who have already turned 40 this year have taken their birthdays in their stride.  One is preparing to become a first time mum, another went on the trip of a lifetime to Asia and the Caribbean.  Another is having her third celebration this month, and why not!  We only turn 40 once, and doesn't life begin at 40 anyway!!

To my surprise I'm not finding the thought of …

Circle of Influence

A few years ago, I was complaining to a colleague about a team which had been slacking off and hadn't been pulling their weight.  I was so distressed by their inferior performance that it was affecting my own.  My colleague reminded me of the Covey Circles
In the7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen R. Covey described proactive people as those who work on the things they can do something about.  These people focus on their circle of influence and as they do, the circle grows.  Reactive people instead waste their energy worrying about things they can't control, just as I was worrying about the other team.  How much time do we waste thinking about what someone else will be wearing or doing?  Or maybe a colleague is preparing a piece of work and the competitor in you worries that it'll be better than your work.  Have you ever had a sleepless night worrying about something that might happen at work the following day, only for the situation not to happen at all?
For t…

Do you use MOOC yet?

This year I find myself relying on MOOCs more often.  What is a MOOC?  It stands for massive open online course.  I remember how as a thirteen year old (way back when!) I relied on my mum's Reader's Digest Cookery Annual to complete a Cookery (it wasn't called Home Economics yet!) assignment.  It was a beautiful book with illustrations of fruit and vegetables by season.

These days a quick google search or Wikipedia can often answer questions really quickly.  MOOCs replace classroom learning, lessons and coursework are all online and mostly free (some have additional paid-for features).

Here are three MOOCs to try:

1.  Lynda
Founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman, Lynda offers courses from Software Development to Photography.  This popular training provider is used by LinkedIn Learning and is offered free to all members of Auckland Libraries.

2.  edX
I'm starting to learn Python and R for work so edX is really useful.  Many of the courses are Microsoft verified and for an additiona…