A Benevolence House Of Kuan Yin Temple
Kuan Yin temple which is located at Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (previously known as Pitts street), are doubt as one of the oldest Chinese temple in Penang. With history dated back to 1800, Kuan Yin temple is the symbol of pride, compassion and love to all her loyal devotees.

The Goddess of Mercy or Kuan Yin is perhaps one of the noticeable figures of all Buddhist deities in Penang today. She enlightened and embodies the attributes of benevolence and unshakable loving compassion that is accessible to everyone.

The popularity of Kuan Yin as a beautiful
white-robed goddess filled with pure devotion and compassion are well known to the people of Penang. Kuan Yin statue is commonly found in homes and Buddhist temples in various incarnations, often cloaked in white robes.


The History of Kuan Yin
For centuries, Kuan Yin has epitomized the great ideal of Mahayana Buddhism in her role as "bodhisattva” who has foregone the bliss of Nirvana. She vows to save all children of God and to help them attained enlightment.

Kuan Yin's name is a translation of the Sanskrit name of her chief predecessor who is Avalokitesvara and which in plain English means "She who heeds to the cries of the world".

She is often frequently portrayed as a slender woman in flowing white robes who carries in one hand a white lotus and a string of prayer beads in the other hand signifying a symbol of purity, devotion and compassion. Many figures of Kuan Yin can be identified by the presence of a small
image of Amitabha in her crown. With Kuan Yin merciful presence, even those who need to be served a severe punishment will be spared. In her eyes, compassion is much stronger than
punishment.


The Great Temple of Compassion
Kuan Yin Temple has become a main attraction not only to the thousand of Buddhist devotees but also tourist from all over the world. The temple are built with characteristic of Chinese architecture and carved with dragon and many mysterious creatures that stood up and act as the guardian of the temple. Within the temple, in an inner chamber, is a statue of an 18-armed Kuan Yin with each hand either containing a different cosmic symbol or expressing a specific ritual position.

In the courtyard are two huge iron stoves where devotees burn paper offerings (gold and silver paper), an octagonal well which was once a public well for the Chinese community as well as a comforting sight to view feeding of flocking pigeons. It is also here that the followers of Hare Krishnan distribute food free to the homeless, beggars and the hungry irregardless of their race and religion.

There are several stories regarding Kuan Yin temple, although very little are documented in official records. For example, it was claimed that during WW2, the Japanese dropped a bomb on the temple with the intention of destroying it. Through sheer luck (or divine intervention), the bomb dropped in the courtyard instead and Kuan Yin temple was left untouched. Others described how a large number of Penangites took shelter in the Kuan Yin temple during the war.




Kuan Yin Temple Feast
Kuan Yin temple is normally congested with thousand of devotees burning their joss sticks on the full moon of the 1st and 15th day of the Chinese lunar month.

On the three enlightenment days of Kuan Yin, the 19th day of the 2nd, 6th and 9th Chinese lunar month, the whole temple is packed with devotees and visitors who turn up not only for worship but also to join in the celebrations and to watch puppet and Chinese opera shows
which are staged on the temple's open grounds.

With Kuan Yin standing tall in the heart of George Town, there will forever be endless compassion and devotion that can bring to the prosperity and racial harmony in Penang for many years to come.

Photo courtesy of www.tourismpenang.gov.com.my © All rights reserved