Archive for the ‘Kek Lok Si Temple’ Tag

Kek Lok Si Temple Lighting Ceremony & Display of Lights 2016   2 comments


11215514_1717737551788962_8969748025960121680_nKek Lok Si Temple Lighting Ceremony & Display of Lights 2016
Special thanks to Mr Yeoh Peng Hong for the use of this banner.

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Kek Lok Si Temple Display of Lights 2016
Date: 4 February (Lighting Ceremony)
7 – 22 February (Kek Lok Si Temple Display of Lights)
Penang’s iconic temple, ‘Kek Lok Si’ or the Temple of Supreme Bliss is said to be the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia, and arguably one of the most famous in Penang. Kek Lok Si has started preparing for its annual lighting ceremony.
This year, the lighting ceremony will be commenced on 4 February. Then, it will be taking 2 days break and continue to be lighted up every night from 7 February (Chinese New Year Eve) onwards until 22 February (Chap Goh Meh) which will showcase more than 10,000 lights. The lighting of the temple symbolizes peace, luck and prosperity.
The 125 years old Kek Lok Si Temple itself has always been a tourist attraction in Penang but the annual display of lights is even a bigger crowd puller, attracting tourists from all around the world and locals as well.
Extracted from Facebook’s Event Page Hosted by Freedom Diary 自由日记簿.

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The risks of the photographers
Photo-shooting at this annual event is interesting and at times can be risky for more senior citizen like me. This year was also basically the same as we waited for Marilyn to fetch us after her dogs-feeding routine. It was getting late at 6.60 pm and have a Burmese domestic helper to drop off at her home in Farlim. Traffic was jammed from the General Hospital towards Ayer Itam – the place we were heading. So, we took a short cut towards York Road but also it was equally jammed with cars as Chinese New Year and schools were closing their afternoon session. Anyway, to cut the story short, we, Bertrand and me, reached the bottom of the hill terraces at just 7.15 pm. We took a strenuous up-hill hike towards the destined place on the hill-side of a fruit farm. We had sought permission from the man for the past few years to photo-shoot the event. We thanked him for his generosity and I had personally bought a crate of mandarin oranges for him last year 2015 which he reluctantly accepted. Reaching the terrace where pineapples were growing, we then slowly climb upwards the earth and sandy terraces. It was indeed very “slippery” due to the dry sand. One misstep one can fell several metres downwards due to the steep slope. Many thanks to Bertrand and Michael Chuan for carrying my bag and tripod plus aiding me upwards. There were already over 10 photographers on the hillside with the tripods and cameras ready for the action.

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Ethics of photographers
Usually we had a list of 10 photographers which we had earlier asked for approval from the land owner. As the space is limited, we did not request for more photographers to be on the terraces unless prior permission was granted. There were photographers coming on their own and lying to the land owner that they had permission which was definitely false. In the end, I had to place my tripod in a muddy puddle as I did not want to climb up further owing to my weak legs. Quickly, I set up my camera and tripod and just in time for the photo-shoot which started 15 minutes later. However, special thanks and appreciation to Michael Chuan for the credit of finding this alternative site that saved hiking time of 30 minutes up the stone steps to the hill top, behind the vegetable farm. The photographs taken here were quite similar in composition and framing as the ones on top of us.

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The Lighting Ceremony
The colourful lightings were suddenly lighted up with parts ofthe Temple in sequence. The Pagoda was the last building to be lighted up. The lighting ceremony had began and next shall be the fireworks display.

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Fireworks
As expected like clock-work, the fireworks started. After the fireworks session, there was a short interval and thinking that the fireworks had ended, we were caught unprepared for the next session of fireworks.

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So this ended the 2016 Kek Lok Si Temple Lighting Ceremony and the Display of Lights on 4th February, 2016.

SP Lim
Still photo-shooting

Kek Lok Si Temple of Ayer Itam, Penang   3 comments


The Kek Lok Si Temple (simplified Chinese: 极乐寺; traditional Chinese: 極樂寺; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Ki̍k-lo̍k-sī; Penang Hokkien for “Temple of Supreme Bliss” or “Temple of Sukhavati” or “Jile Si”) is a Buddhist temple situated in Air Itam in Penang facing the sea and commanding an impressive view, and is one of the best known temples on the island. It is said to be the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. It is also an important pilgrimage centre for Buddhists from Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and other countries in Southeast Asia. This entire complex of temples was built over a period from 1890 to 1930, an inspirational initiative of Beow Lean, the Abbot. The main draw in the complex is the striking seven-storey Pagoda of Rama VI (Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas) with 10,000 alabaster and bronze statues of Buddha, and the 30.2 metres (99 ft) tall bronze statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy.

Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada 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. The temple is heavily commercialised with shops at every level and inside the main temple complexes selling all religious paraphernalia.

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Another view of Kek Lok Si Temple

Etymology

The literal meaning of Kek Lok Si Temple is “Heavenly Temple”, “Pure Land Temple”, “Temple of Supreme Bliss”. and the “Temple of Paradise”.

History
The construction of the temple began in 1890 and completed in 1905. It was inspired by Beow Lean, the chief monk of the Goddess of Mercy Temple at Pitt Street in 1887; he had served earlier in the Kushan Abbey in Fujian in China. The site chosen by Beow, a spiritual location in the hills of Ayer Itam, facing the sea, was named “White Crane Mountain”. It was established as a branch of the Buddhist Vatican in Drum Mountain in Foochow in Hokkien province. Beow Lean was the first Abbot of the temple. The buildings of the temple complex were sponsored by five leading Chinese business people of Penang known as “Hakka tycoons”. They were: Cheong Fatt Tze, his cousin Cahang Yu Nan, Chea Choon Seng, Tye Kee Yoon, and Chung Keng Kooi. Collection of funds for building the temple was also facilitated by dedicating the structures and artefacts in the name of the temple’s benefactors. The main hall, which was completed first, housed a shrine to Guanyin, in a recessed area where many other female goddesses called the Queen of Heaven, the Goddess of the Earth, and Goddess of Childbirth are housed; which is said to represent, on a miniature scale, the island of Potalaka where there is a large shrine dedicated to Guanyin in the China Sea. People compared this shrine to the Amitabha Buddha’s Western Paradise and started calling it the “Kek Lok Si” (“Jile Si”). There are also many other shrine chambers, which have stately statues, all gilded, of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, saintly Lohans, guardian spirits, and Heavenly (or Diamond) Kings of Pure Land Buddhism.

The consular representative of China in Penang reported the grandeur of the temple to the Qing Government. Following this, the Guangxu Emperor invited Beow Lean to Beijing in 1904 and bestowed on him, 70,000 volumes (7,000 is also mentioned in some references) of the “psalms and other sacred works of Buddhism” and also presented him edicts anointing him as “dignity of the Chief Priest of Penang” and also declaring “the Chinese temple at Air Itam as the head of all Chinese temples in Penang”. On the Abbot’s return to Penang, a royal procession, carrying the edict in a rattan chair and the scriptures in pony driven carts, was organised leading to the temple complex. Prominent Chinese dignitaries of Penang in their royal mandarin attire accompanied the Abbot in the procession.

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Kek Lok Si pagoda tiers labelled with their architectural styles
In 1930, the seven storey main pagoda of the temple or the Pagoda of “Ban Po Thar”, the Ten Thousand Buddhas, a 30 metres (98 ft) high structure, was completed. This pagoda combines a Chinese octagonal base with a middle tier of Thai design, and a Burmese crown (spiral dome); reflecting the temple’s amalgam of both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism. It represents syncretism of the ethnic and religious diversity in the country. There is a large statue of Buddha donated by King Bhumibol of Thailand diefied here. King Rama VI of Thailand laid the foundation for the pagoda and it is hence also named as Rama Pagoda.
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In 2002, a 30.2-metre (99 ft) bronze statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, was completed and opened to the public. It replaced the previous white plaster Kuan Yin statue which was damaged due to a fire a few years earlier. The bronze statue is located on the hillside above the pagoda. The statue is complemented with a 60.9 metres (200 ft) three-tiered roof pavilion (with 16 columns made of bronze supporting the pavilion),which was completed in 2009. It is the tallest Guanyin statue in the world. One hundred statues of the goddess Kuan Yin, each of 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) height, are set around the main statue of the goddess. However, its height was restricted to avoid its shadow falling on the Penang State Mosque. This shrine also has other 10,000 statues of Buddha, apart from a statue of 12 Zodiac Animal Signs of the Chinese Calendar.

The temple complex has a large hydraulically operated bell, which tolls with a high pitch at frequent intervals. Wood and stone carvings are profusely seen in the temple. In front of each deity there is a cushion, impressive scrolls, and candles set in very attractive suspended lamps, and with a large number of priests in attendance.

Description

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Kek Lok Si Temple viewed from Air Itam

Kek Lok Si Temple is located at the foot of the Air Itam mountain in George Town on Penang Island. It is built over a plot of an area of 12.1 hectares (30 acres) that was donated by Yeoh Siew Beow. It is about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) walk from the Penang Hill Station.

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 prayer halls and pavilions for assembly and prayer, statues of Buddha; various Bodhisattvas as well as Chinese gods are being venerated. The architectural features include carved pillars, fine woodwork, mostly painted in bright colours, and a plethora of lanterns add to the visual impression. Fish ponds and flower gardens are also part of the temple complex.

There is a cable car to carry pilgrims and visitors further uphill. On the elevated platform, there is a fish pond, and the towering statue of Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy which is worshipped by women to beget children. The monks and nuns, who are housed in a monastery and who are incharge maintenance and operation of the temple complex, consider it as a spiritual retreat to attain salvation.


Annual events

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The Temple brightly illuminated during the 30 nights following Chinese New Year
The temple is a focal point of festivals of the Chinese community in Penang. The Chinese New Year celebrations are particularly impressive. For 30 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. During the festival days, the complex is decorated with thousands of lanterns representing donations offered by devotees. Another festive feature is the long marches undertaken by hundreds of monks from Thailand to the temple, once or twice in a year.

Worship

Worship of the deities in the temple complex reflects the diversity of the ethnic origins of the Buddhist devotees. Such worship could be in the form of counting prayer beads or by burning incense or by cash offerings or just by bowing and clapping to make one’s presence known to the deity. Highly learned people offer prayers at the tower of Sacred Books in the upper part of the temple. Some pilgrims also offer prayers in the extensive gardens located in the precincts of the temple.

The religious paraphernalia sold along the winding steps that lead to the temple precincts cater to the religious offerings to be made by the pilgrims. The goods on sale comprise ornaments, books, pictures, collection of sayings and strings of a sacred orange colour and mementos such as T-shirts and CDs.

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WFB Penang pays courtesy call on Chief Abbot of Kek Lok Si Temple   Leave a comment


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World Fellowship of Buddhists (Penang Regional Centre) pays courtesy call on Chief Abbot of Kek Lok Si Temple

The Chairman and Committee Members of The World Fellowship of Buddhists (Penang Regional Centre) pays a courtesy call on the Chief Abbot Reverend Sin Kuang of Kek Lok Si Temple, Ayer Itam, Penang on this Sunday morning of January 3, 2016 at 11.30 am. The current Chairman is Dato Dr Loh Hock Hun, Dato’ Seri Choot Ewe Seng, Lim Gim Hin – the Secretary and 10 other Committee Members. The blogger Lim Soo Peng is one of the 3 Vice-Chairman. We were invited to a simple vegetarian lunch by the Abbot. After the lunch, we took part in an interesting conversation with Chief Abbot Reverend Sin Kuang who is very interested in herbal remedies. He even wrote a booklet in Mandarin on the subject.

Photographs were taken at 极乐寺 Kek Lok Si Temple, Ayer Itam, Penang.

SP Lim

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Kek Lok Si Temple’s Lights On …   Leave a comment


Kek Lok Si Temple’s Lights On …
Photo-shoot leisurely at Kek Lok Si Temple … in the cloudy afternoon followed by slight drizzle in the evening. No crowd but the lights at Kuan Yin Statue are switched off. It was an interesting experience as the lights were switched on as you can hear the oohs and ahhs from those who were there. I did not move around owing to my equipments of DSLRs, tripod and some filters. Anyway I shall take from another angle next year.

SP Lim
My pendrive did not store the other edited photos which I shall re-do tomorrow morning.

Kek Lok Si Temple by night and by day   Leave a comment


Photo-shoot leisurely at Kek Lok Si Temple … in the cloudy afternoon followed by slight drizzle in the evening.

SP Lim

Photo-shoot leisurely at Kek Lok Si Temple … in the cloudy afternoon followed by slight drizzle in the evening. No crowd but the lights at Kuan Yin Statue are switched off. It was an interesting experience as the lights were switched on as you can hear the oohs and ahhs from those who were there, SP Lim

Lighting Up Ceremony of the 124-years old Kek Lok Si Temple   1 comment


Lighting Up Ceremony at Kek Lok Si Temple

Extracted from the:-

VisitPenang 2015 February II Penang Touriam eNewsletter

Kek Lok Si Display of Lights 2015
Written by Administrator II
Friday, 13 February 2015 18:58
Date: 14 February – 18 March 2015
Location: Kek Lok Si Temple, Air Itam

Penang’s iconic temple, ‘Kek Lok Si’ or the Temple of Supreme Bliss is said to be the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia, and arguably one of the most famous in Penang. Kek Lok Si has started preparing for its annual lighting ceremony. This year, the temple will be lighted up five days before the first day of Chinese New Year and will continue to be lighted up every night until 18 March which showcases more than 10,000 lights. The lighting of the temple symbolizes peace, luck and prosperity.

The 124-years old Kek Lok Si Temple itself has always been a tourist attraction in Penang but the annual display of lights is even a bigger crowd puller, attracting tourists from all around the world and locals as well. During this time, devotees and visitors can register and donate from RM50 to RM1,200 to light up a lantern with personalized well wishes which will be hung around the temple grounds. For more information and inquiries, please contact 04-8283317.

Inserted by SP Lim

Photo-shooting of the Lighting Up Ceremony of the Display of Lights at the Kek Lok Si Temple was adventure by itself for us, the photographers. I remembered 4 years ago I had to hike a few hundred granite steps to reach a piece of earthen terrace beside a vegetable farm to capture similar framed photographs. It was drizzling slightly and the steps were rather slippery and dangerous. It was also indeed tiring and energy-absorbing activity for me. However last year, Michael Chuan discovered a better place with the same angle but at lower elevation. It was more easily accessible and with the kind permission of the land-owner, it was now very much easier for me to capture these photos. However, with current hot and dry weather, the red earth and soil was quite “slippery” in terms of gripping the rubber shoes due to dusty condition of the soil. It was also a slow process to climb up the steep terrace and later down in semi-darkness with the assistance of torchlights. These are the risks that the passionate photographers shall take to capture good photographs so enjoy them. Before I forget, I must thank the younger photographers, Michael Chuan, Ban Seng and Max Teoh, for carrying my tripod and my heavy camera bag with wrongly brought telephoto lens of 70-200mm. Actually we needed wide-angled lens. Camera settings are f11, ISO100 and time exposure from 1 to 4 seconds.
Happy Chinese New Year aka Gong Xi Fa Chai of the Year of the Goat / Sheep 2015.

SP Lim

A Vegetarian Dana for Chief Monk of Dhammikarama Burmese Temple, Penang ~ Part 3   Leave a comment


A Vegetarian Dana for Chief Monk of Dhammikarama Burmese Temple, Penang ~ Part 3

SP Lim

A Vegetarian Dana was held for Chief Monk of Dhammikarama Burmese Temple, Penang ~ Part 2   Leave a comment


A vegetarian Dana was held for Chief Monk of Dhammikarama Burmese Temple, Burmah Lane on occasion of his birthday with food cooked by nuns from Kek Lok Si Temple on Friday, 10 January, 2014. Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu.

SP Lim

A Vegetarian Dana for Chief Monk of Dhammikarama Burmese Temple, Penang ~ Part 1   Leave a comment


A Vegetarian Dana was held for Chief Monk of Dhammikarama Burmese Temple, Burmah Lane, Penang on occasion of his birthday with food cooked by nuns from Kek Lok Si Temple on Friday, 10 January, 2014. The Chief Monk has always reluctant to celebrate his birthday but he cannot refuse such a kind gesture from another Buddhist Temple. He, however, politely refuse to cut any birthday cakes as to him such practice of celebrating birthday is not correct in Buddhist practice. Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu.

SP Lim

Kek Lok Si by Chinese New Year nights   Leave a comment


Kek Lok Si Temple on Chinese New Year nights is brightly and beautifully decorated. There is a more difficult angle that can be taken from a nearby hill. One must hike up a small hillock where a vegetable farm was located. However, owing to many photographers taking photo from this hill, we are not permitted to enter the vegetable farm. However, there is a patch of empty but part of the view can be obstructed by trees and bushes. Care must be taken just in case there are snakes. Well, these are dangers faced by passionate photographers. One also need to be aggressive to get a good spot too. Happy shooting.

SP Lim

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