Last month I was in Taiwan and I visited Foguangshan 佛光山 just outside of Gaoxiong in the south and I got to see the passive stupa project under construction in the neighbouring valley. It will house a Buddha relic. Behind it there will also be a massive Buddha statue that will be stuffed with countless heart sutras (I think one of mine I did the calligraphy call will be placed in it too!).
It is a modern Buddhist monument. I think it also reveals the economic success of the Buddhist movement in Taiwan. Chinese Buddhism in general was in a state of rapid decay until around the 1950s. The communists certainly did a lot of damage in the following decades, but Buddhist venerables like Zhenhua, Xingyun and Sheng Yen amongst others successfully transplanted Chinese Buddhism to Taiwan and within a few decades several major organizations were thriving and active on the island. Not only that, but in recent years they've gone overseas as well.
From a scholarly point of view this is also interesting to monitor as right now in the western world the popular schools are Tibetan, Theravadan and Zen. Chinese Buddhism, despite its evident ability to successfully harness resources, seems largely reserved for immigrants or the already existent Chinese communities in western countries.
Anyway, here are some photos of the stupa and eight pagodas under construction:
Incidentally, Dharma Drum Mountain up on the north coast is also quite active and prosperous.
It is interesting to see how these organizations could start from basically nothing and work their way up to what they are now in a few decades. Perhaps much of this has to do with the existing customs already in place within Chinese culture -- most notably where the laity give quite generously.
I wonder if western Buddhist organizations couldn't learn from the model. How many little dharma centers struggle just to pay the rent? It goes without saying money isn't the purpose of Buddhism, but it takes capital to build Buddhist universities and publish books.
Sorry for the lengthy post. I felt like writing and posting photos.