Typical "Si" buildings are rare today. The first hall of a "Si" is the hall of Heavenly Guardians, also known as Dharma Protectors. Situated in the center of the hall, facing the front door, is Mi Le Pu Sa (Maitreya Bodhisattva) who is represented by the image of the historical monk Bu-Dai. Mi Le Pu Sa has a big smile that conveys the idea that in order to truly learn Buddhism, one should learn to be cheerful and courteous to all. He also has a huge belly that represents fairness, flexibility, impartiality, patience and tolerance.
Photo source: Copyright 1995-2005, Mark Schumacher,