Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My visitation to Penang Kek Lok Si Temple

Situated strategically on a sprawling hill, Kek Lok Si is knows as the jewel in the crown of heritage temples in Malaysia,

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and had been identified as one of the largest and finest temple complexes in South-each Asia.

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The scenic view of the hill outside the temple complements the temple’s exquisitely designed rooflines and exotic pillars,

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further enhancing the picturesque facade of the Kek Lok Si Buddhist Monastery.

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The millions of magnificent images of Buddha and the hundreds of beautiful meaningful carvings,

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sculptures and murals in the interior and exterior of the temple halls,

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pagodas and archways are heritage treasures of Buddhist civilization.

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The temple complex also features many magnificent buildings and interesting sites that have historic value.

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The buildings have been constructed along intricate architectural lines;

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Some resemble famous Buddhist temples in China,

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Whilst others are unique in themselves, reflecting the Kek Lok Si’s own style of creative innovation.

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The history of Kek Lok Si can be traced to the late nineteenth century.

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It began with the arrival of a priest, Venerable Beow Lean in Penang in 1885,

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Who came to Penang with the aim of obtaining donations for the renovation of a monastery in Ku-San, Foochow, China.

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Instead, the trustees of the Kuan Yin Teng temple in Pitt Street,

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the oldest temple in Penang, decided to appoint him as the new resident priest of the temple.

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Venerable Beow Lean accepted the post as he was struck by the deep devotion of the Penang Chinese to Buddhism.

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Later, he discovered that a sprawling hill,

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in Air Item village, outside of George Town, had the right feng-sui to build a Buddhist monastery.

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Naming the hill Kuock-San (Crane Hill) because it resembled a crane spreading its wings, Venerable Beow Lean decided to build a temple,

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to be known as “Huock San Kek Lok Jan Si”, which would act as a retreat center for Buddhists.

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With the blessing of his superiors and support of some generous contributors,

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the Kek Lok Si Temple began to take shape.

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The earliest building completed was the Hall of Bodhhisattvas in 1891;

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follow by the Hall of Devas in 1895, the Hall of Devawira in 1896, the Tower of Sacred Books in 1899.

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In 1904, when the first phase of temple complex was completed,

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Venerable Beow Lean returned to China and paid homage to the Ching Emperor, Kuang Xi.

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who later presented him with a set of Buddhist sutras,

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the emperor’s hand written scripts and several other relics.

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The well-known Empress Cixi, of the Ching Dynasty,

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also wrote and presented hand-written scripts to the temple.

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Until today, all these heritage relics are still kept in the temple;

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the royal scripts were converted into plaques.

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And the writings were displayed at the Hall of Devawira and the archway of the Pagoda of A Million Buddhas.

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Now Venerable Jit Heng was the first Malaysian officially appointed as the head priest of Kek Lok Si over the past two decades.

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His contribution is evident in the completion of the Majestic Statue of Kuan Yin,

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the Guan Tong Grand Hall and other new developments in Kek Lok Si.

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In its more than one hundred years of existence, Kek Lok Si has had may supporters, donors, and contributors.

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Kek Lok Si is known not only for the beauty of its historic buildings,

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which attract thousands of tourists every year,

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but also for being a center for Chinese culture and Buddhist teaching.

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The dissemination of Buddhism through organized events

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and special occasions had benefited many devotees and followers of the Buddhist way of life.

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The journey of insightful discovery expounded in here Digital Memory. Enjoy my photos my dear readers :)

2 comments:

Laura Hii said...

the temple really nices

Wilson said...

I like this place :)