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Kek Lok Si Temple PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 17 July 2008 16:19

 

The Kek Lok Si Temple (Penang Hokkien for "Temple of Supreme Bliss"; Simplified Chinese: 极乐寺; Traditional Chinese: 極樂寺) is a Buddhist temple situated in Air Itam in Penang and is one of the best known temples on the island.

Mahayana Buddhism and traditional Chinese rituals blend into a harmonious whole, both in the temple architecture and artwork as well as in the daily activities of worshippers.

History

The construction of the temple began in 1890 and was inspired by the chief monk of the Goddess of Mercy Temple at Pitt Street. With the support of the consular representative of China in Penang, the project received the sanction of the Manchu Emperor Guangxu, who bestowed a tablet and gift of 70,000 volumes of the Imperial Edition of the Buddhist Sutras.

The primary benefector of the Kek Lok Si Temple in 1906 was none other than Kapitan Chung Keng Quee.

In 1930, the seven storey main pagoda of the temple or the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas, was completed. This pagoda combines a Chinese octagonal base with a middle tier of Thai design, and a Burmese crown; reflecting the temple's embrace of both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism.

In 2002, a 30.2m bronze statue of the Kuan Yin was completed and opened to public. The statue is located on the hillside above the pagoda.

A temple in the making

As the fairly recent date mentioned above may suggest, the temple is still growing. Generous donations from the affluent Chinese community allow the construction of additional buildings. The current focus is to create an ornate shelter for the Kuan Yin statue. 16 carved dragon pillars are being built, the concentric roof will be inspired by classical Ming architecture, reminiscent of the roof of Prayer Hall for Good Harvest in the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

Visiting the Temple

Most visitors approach the temple as they ascend a stairway, roofs of which provide shelter to a multitude of shops selling souvenirs and other - mostly secular - commodities. They pass by a so-called Liberation Pond, following the buddhist tradition of merit-making, turtles may be released into freedom, albeit a limited one.

The temple itself consists of several large hall for assembly and prayer, here, statues of Buddha, various Bodhisattvas as well as Chinese gods are being venerated. Intricate woodwork, often brightly painted and a plethora of laterns add to the visual impression.

There is an inclined lift to carry pilgrims and visitors further uphill. On the elevated platform, you can find a pond filled with Koi and the towering statue of Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy, which can also be regarded as Avalokitheshvara, Bodhisattva of Universal Compassion.

The Temple brightly illuminated during the 33 nights following Chinese New Year


Annual Events

The temple is a focal point of festivals of the Chinese community in Penang. The Chinese New Year celebrations are particularly impressive: for 33 days following Chinese New Year, the temple remains open until late at night whilst thousands of lights turn the scenery into a sea of light.

 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kek_Lok_Si_Temple

For more information, please contact Kek Lok Si at 04-8283317.

Last Updated on Friday, 25 February 2011 13:52
 

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