Curious Tourists Disturb Monastics Living in Abandoned Theme Park in Taiwan

By BD Dipananda
Buddhistdoor Global | 2016-12-30 |
Tourists visiting the main building of the abandoned Fairytale World theme park. From Taipei TimesTourists visiting the main building of the abandoned Fairytale World theme park. From Taipei Times

A deserted theme park in Guanxi Township in Taiwans Hsinchu County, has recently become a trendy weekend tourist destination after pictures of it went viral online. But this newfound popularity has disturbed a group of monastics who have been using the site as a secluded place for meditation over the last decade.

The Taipei Times reports that the site was built 40 years ago as a theme park for children. Curious netizens have been attracted to the abandoned site by its main structure, a building that some have compared with the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Once known as Fairytale World, the derelict park also has been nicknamed Buddha World because of the resident monastics, which the Taipei Times reported as having lived on the site for more than 10 years. In response to the park
s burgeoning popularity, the monastics (who follow the Linji School of Chan Buddhism) have permitted the general public to enter between 9am and 4pm each Saturday and Sunday for religious services.

According to Chou Ting-chen, the former Tungshan Borough warden, the park was forced to close due to issues related to a water conservation ordinance. The park was then taken over by Buddhist monastics, who wanted to use it for religious purposes, said Chou, adding that they know about the structures on the site and had not added any new ones. A resident monastic, who declined to be identified, said that the Buddhists were concerned about people entering the park’s dilapidated main building, which has become overgrown by vegetation, including the doorless and windowless upper levels of the buildings spire. “The tiles have begun falling off the walls and there is a tree growing on the top floor. We used to only use that building to store recyclables,” he added. (Taipei Times)

The resident monastics have said they are concerned that the building might not be safe and have advised visitors to avoid entering it. They have also posted signs about the dangers of the park and put up chains at various entrances, adding that these measures have ironically attracted more adventurous visitors.

“Please do not come here over a few photographs taken at the right angle to visit an abandoned park that is already a wasteland!” said a monastic, urging the visitors not to disturb the Buddhist residents.

According to the Taipei Times, the monastics have no plans to repair any of the structures aside from plastering over spots that are leaking. Other areas of the theme park will be left to nature.

Meanwhile, the resident monastics have said that they are relatively detached about the general public’s newfound interest in the abandoned park and will continue use the site as a makeshift monastery for as long as their way of life can continue undisturbed by visitors.

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Abandoned theme park draws tourists (Taipei Times

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