The temple rises from a gently sloping hill, its golden rooftops gleaming in the sunshine like beacons of serenity. From the outside, it seems strangely out of place, perched above the San Gabriel Valley 20 miles east of Los Angeles. Here, in the land of make-believe, one is likely to mistake the temple's structures for a large movie set or for part of a theme park attraction. Its ancient Chinese architecture and pristine grounds are a stark contrast to the neighborhood traffic and telephone lines.
In a sense, Buddhism never was accepted in China. At least not in its purely Indian form. Legends abound about Indians such as Bodhidharma introducing various forms of Buddhism to China, but these tales tell us little about the gradual textural changes which result when the yeast of a foreign view of being penetrates and permeates the life of a nation as already rich and diversified as medieval China.