On March 7th 1970, the mountain gate was built along with the Avalokitesvara Pond, Serenity Pavilion and Precious Bridge. Fo Guang Shan emulates the Buddha’s spirit of equality in “Cultivating loving-kindness without conditions and ground compassion in oneness.” Following the virtuous examples of the ancient in being kind and loving to all animals, a thirty-six thousand square feet Avalokitesvara Pond was constructed. At dusk, when the sun shines over the Avalokitesvara statue, it is like the great compassionate and efficacious Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva who liberates the suffering from distress, has arrived to save the endless sentient beings in the water. In this beautiful scene, one can tell the hardships in building the pond back then.
The construction of the Avalokitesvara Pond was done n the hot summer. Although the torrent rains repeatedly washed away the construction, Venerable Master Hsing Yun and his disciples risked themselves to save the pond. They used cotton beddings to cover the ground and worked undauntingly with Fo Guang Shan’s Dharma protectors Chen Wang-shi, Fan Hsiao-yue, and Dong Rong-fang to stop the flooding water. Finally, the soil and water was conserved and the construction could be completed.
In the pond is a small island named Peace and Love Island. The island commemorates a lay female Buddhist known as “Aigu” (loving aunt). She later renounced and became a bhiksuni with the Dharma name Wei He (fine harmony). The island was thus named because of her compassion and enthusiastic support in the construction of the pond. Before she passed away, she donated all her properties for the construction of the pond.