Places to Visit: Kuan Yin Temple ( Goddess of Mercy Temple )
Day 5, HUB # 5
If you are on a holiday trip to Malaysia, do drop by at Johor Bahru, one of the southern states in Malaysia, just across the causeway to Singapore. Take a glimpse of the magnificent view of the Kuan Yin Temple ( Goddess of Mercy Temple- a Chinese Temple ), located at Taman Perling, easily spotted on the main road of Jalan Persisiran Perling 1.
Every year before the Dongzhi Festival ( Winter Solstice Festival ), which is usually celebrated on the 22nd of December , my mother-in-law would remind us to visit the Kuan Yin Temple in order to give thanks to the Goddess of Mercy and Buddha for the well being, unity and harmony within the family. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to visit the Chinese temple, even though I am not a Buddha believer, just the rest of the family members are Buddha worshippers.
It is compulsory for them to bring a big bottle of red prayer oil and 6 oranges that symbolize the gifts for God. Oranges symbolize a life, wish for good luck and a new beginning for the next year while the red oil is to pray for God’s answer to the devotee prayers, vows, offerings and sacrifices.
The Kuan Yin ( The Goddess Of Mercy )
The Kuan Yin Temple is quite a new temple painted with bright red and gold colors, compare to those old temples at the town area and Muar which had existed for centuries and run down paintings.
This temple honors the statue of Kuan Yin ( Goddess of Mercy ) and Buddha, where you definitely could not missed the gigantic Kuan Yin statue located on the left hand side corner of the temple entrance.
Kuan Yin is shown in a white flowing robe, standing in the middle of a small pond, wearing the necklace of Chinese royalty. In the left hand, she is shown holding a pitcher pouring out holy water into the small pond, while on her right hand, she made a sign of “Peace” . For those who believed the holy water could bless them from harm, they had to kneel down in order to touch the water.
Surrounding the small pond are bushes of short, round green trees and you could find lots of mature "Koi" Japanese fishes, also known as "Carp" fishes, swimming in harmony, once in a while popping up their heads on to the surface of the water, hoping to catch some food. According to Chinese custom, rearing gold fishes signify good luck and prosperity swimming into your way. However in Japan, "Koi" symbolize love and friendship, commonly kept as pet fish in fish ponds and water gardens.The peaceful surrounding depicts inner peace, tranquility and contentment to a person’s heart.
All About Fengshui
Catch Beautiful Sights of the Temple
The Entrance Wall
Outside the entrance wall, you could see 14 pictured stories, engraved onto the wall, 7 stories on the left and another 7 stories of the right hand side. Each of the story has its’ moral meaning which teaches devotees about filial piety, loyalty, love, sacrifices and many more.
The Large Round Urn
In front of the temple entrance, there is a large round urn with a uniquely carved dragon by the side. It is supported with 4 bended legs to hold onto its’ heavy weight as it is filled with heaps of sand for the devotees to place the burning joss sticks. I observed that each devotee would hold 3 sticks of long burning joss sticks with both palms pressed together, lift them a little higher than his head, closed his eyes and prayed, shook the joss sticks 3 times before poking them into the urn.
Beautiful Engraving on Pillars and Statues
Dragon and Phoenix Pillars
The main entrance of the Kuan Yin Temple is a beautiful sight to behold. There are 6 large tall grey pillars to support the temple’s high, broad, long roof.
Frankly speaking, I had enjoyed taking photos of the beautifully craved grey stones of the pillars. They were simply enchanting and captivating.
The first row consists of 3 pillars, engraved with entwined holy dragons while the second rows were 3 pillars engraved with holy phoenix like bird.
To my amazement, most of the young and old devotees do not know the signification of these unique creatures. Fortunately, I managed to enquire the caretaker of the temple who was elderly man who had answered to my curiosity.
Each of the front pillars has a dragon engraved onto it, coiling upward with his feet holding onto a ball which signify power, potency and “Yang”. While each of the back pillars has a phoenix engraved onto it with a head of a pheasant, the beak of a parrot, a body of a mandarin duck, wide long wings, feathers of an eagle and legs which resembles a crane. It symbolize virtue, grace, power and prosperity.
The Chinese Guardian Lions
AT the entrance of the Kuan Yin Temple, there is a pair of Chinese Guardian Lions, also known as “ShiShi” in Chinese, which literally means Stone Lion or Imperial Guardian Lion, sitting on each side of the front pillars, just at the foot of the dragon pillars.
These Chinese Guardian Lions were believed to have powerful mystic protective power to bring prosperity and protection. Hence, you will be able to find these remarkable Chinese Guardian Lions statue located in front of fengshui believers property such as home, restaurant, hotel and office.
Take a closer look at these lions’ features closely; they come in pairs; a male and a female. These lions are craved from granite stones, the male resting his front paws onto a ball which resembles the world while the female seems to be keeping her playful cub under her control by hiding it behind her back. Each of the impressive lions were tied with a piece of red ribbon around its neck, completed with a golden bell.
Do's and Don't
From the front view of the temple, there are 3 entrances to proceed to the inner prayer hall. Two long sheet of rectangular red paper, filled with beautifully written calligraphy words were hung on each side of the entrance.
However, I have no entered the prayer hall yet because I was told not to, since I am a Christian follower.
Anyway, here are some tips on what you should do and shouldn't do if this is your first trip to the temple:-
1. Before you enter the inner prayer hall, one has to bow his head in order to pay respect to the temple, the Gods and deities, even though you are not a Buddhist.
2. You have to take off your shoes before entering the prayer hall, a simple human common concept when you enter your own home. It is advisable to wear slippers, sandals or any footwear which is easier for you to take off and put on.
3. Do not place your hands on the holy statues, don’t’ kiss them and don’t take any photos.
4. Do not wear indecently; such as singlet, low cut blouse, transparency clothing, short skirts and shorts that shows off your thongs or underwear. It is consider rude and disrespectful with such improper wearing code. Furthermore, these are not acceptable at holy places, even other religions in Asia. One must not forget to respect another country’s culture, conservative customs and religion.
Time to do the Burning !
On your right hand side, there is a large furnace made from bricks, the height of a guard house, for the devotees to burn traditional joss papers which are sheets of square paper, gold and yellow in color with red prints in the middle.
These are burnt offerings for the God. The large furnace has the shape of a pagoda, with a curve up rooftop, carved with 4 dragons on each pointed sides.
There is a small aluminum door located in the middle of the pagoda furnace for the devotees to close it after burning the joss papers, This is to ensure that the burnt ashes does not scatter all over the floor, dirty and black stains surface on the floor when people step on them. Another brilliant idea to cut down the temple caretaker’s sweeping job.
Here are some information on how to get there:
Destination: Kuan Yin Temple ( The Goddess Of Mercy )
Located at: Jalan Persisiran Perling 1, Taman Perling, ( at Jalan Kosa 6 ) 81200 Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
- Kuan Yin Temple
Jalan Persisiran Perling 1, Taman Perling, ( at Jalan Kosa 6 ). Visible at the main road, next to rows of single storey shop houses. A long stretch of parking lot available opposite the temple.
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