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Discover Power of Love From Story Behind Sight-Seeing Spot - Kek Lok Si

Updated on September 3, 2011

The Statues Depicting The Discourse at Deer ParkLord Buddha with the Five

Statues at the garden of Kek Lok Si
Statues at the garden of Kek Lok Si

Timeless Truth of Loving Kindness


Kek Lok Si in Penang is a world famous sight-seeing location. It is a large scale Buddhist monastery built on the slope of Crane Hill located on the island of Penang, Malaysia.

Simple Statues, Great Story

Upon entering the gate of Kek Lok Si, prior to entering the door to the yard in front of the main shrine hall of the monastery, one has to walk up a flight of stair-cases. On the right of the stair-cases, one sees the calligraphy engraved on the cliff of rocks. On the left, one sees a garden. At the end of the garden, as the flight of stair-cases starts to turn left, one sees a cluster of statues – The Lord Buddha is seated, facing five monks surrounded Him. In addition, there are statues of deer. In fact, the cluster of statues are depicting the scene when Buddha was delivering His first discourse to the five disciples in a place named as Deer Park at Isipatana, Sarnath Benares, India. Those five monks are said to be the first five disciples who attained sainthood (Arahantship) by following Gautama Buddha’s teaching.

A Deer’s Love for Its Young Saved Others’ Life

There is an interesting story as why the place was called “Deer Park”. According to a story, long, long ago, there was a king who was a very enthusiastic hunter. On one occasion, the king and his followers were on a hunting spree and the king managed to shot a deer with his arrow. The wounded deer ran away with a frantic speed. The king and his followers were very excited and they chased tenaciously after the wounded deer. Not long after the chasing, the deer ran into a bush and disappeared from sight. The king became anxious as he did not want to lose the deer. Immediately, he ordered his followers to round up the bush to leave no chance for the deer to escape. He then ordered his followers to make all kind of noises so as to drive the deer out of the bush. However, their effort was fruitless. Finally, the king became very impatient and he ordered his followers to clear the bush in order to get the deer.

The followers spent quite a while to clear the bush to finally find the wounded deer. When the king saw the wounded deer, he was stunned. At the moment, the wounded deer struggled in agony to stay alive in order to breast feed its baby deer. It showed no fear for the approaching king and the followers. Finally, as the baby deer had enough of her milk and let go the nipple, the wounded mother deer collapsed and died with a loving look at her baby deer.

Looking at the scene, the king was deeply touched by the mother-deer’s love and care for its young deer. Overwhelmed by the remorse for having hurt and killed a ‘loving mother’, the king determined to give up hunting at that very moment. He ordered that the place to be reserved for deers’ habitat and no one was allowed to hurt the deers. As such, the deers roamed freely without being disturbed in that place. The place is, then, named as Deer Park.

The story makes me believe that whole-hearted act of pure love is able to warm a cold heart and melt away hard feelings. If you would like to argue that the story just quoted is merely a story and it could be something fabricated out of imagination, please allow me to narrate another contemporary story shared by late Venerable Suvanno out of his own experience.

Contemporary Example of How Hostility is Neutralized by Non-Violence

Venerable Suvanno was a Buddhist monk who passed away in 2007. Once, the monk stayed at Penang Buddhist Association. At that time, a lady, for some unknown reasons, was very hostile against Venerable Suvanno. The lady came to him every day to scold him until she was exhausted. This lady kept doing this for a few months but Venerable Suvanno did not retaliate at all. One day, when the lady was scolding Venerable Suvanno, Venerable Suvanno was feeling sorry to see her exhausting herself. Venerable Suvanno, out of compassion, said to her gently with a sincere tone,”Dear sister, you are getting thirsty after so much of talking. You can help yourself with the coffee over there.” Venerable Suvanno’s words gave the lady a stunning shock. She stopped scolding Venenrable Suvanno and walked away. She never came back to scold the monk since then.

Even our loving kindness and compassion may not be strong enough to transform a brutal monster, nonetheless, loving kindness and compassion, at least, will make our dealings and relationship with others more satisfying and fruitful, and brings warmth and happiness to those who are surrounding us.

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