Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fo Guang San Dong Zen Temple - Malaysia

During this year Chinese New Year, i was in Malaysia and had the opportunity to visit one of the branch temple under the Fo Guang Shan organization headquartered in Kaoshiung, Taiwan. The temple which i visited is a bigger and more popular branch of Fo Guang Shan temple in Malaysia. It is called Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen temple which is located in a small town, Jenjarom in the state of Selangor. It is approximately an hour drive from Kuala Lumpur and 30 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur International Temple. Actually Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple is not merely a temple but rather a complex housing shrines, exhibition halls, lecture halls, hostels and others. Every year this temple holds special celebration to welcome the Chinese New Year and this year is no exception. During this period, this temple must be one of the most if not the most visited temple in the whole of Malaysia.

At normal times, this temple is rather quiet. It is used as Buddhism cultural centre and a religious learning centre and visitors only come flocking here during festivals especially Chinese New Year. People visit smaller temples for the sole purpose of praying but visitors come here not to pray but for sightseeing. During the festive period, it receives not only local residents from locals but also tourists mostly from Singapore. Below are some of the photos that i took during my visit.

This giant Buddha and his followers look like carved out from mountain statues but no, there are not . A few sections of the temple's compound are permanent feature while some are added during festivals. This giant Buddha is a new feature this year but i think it might be retained permanently.

Of all the attractions here, personally i like this giant statue of the Goddess of Mercy standing on a lotus flower the most. One could feel certain calmness just by getting close to this statue.

The Goddess of Mercy is accompanied by these cute little monks at the base of the statue.

At night this Goddess Of Mercy statue stands out from the rest as it is visible even from quite a distance away.

The main shrine which houses a big Buddha statue. One can pay homage to the Buddha inside here but no joss stick allowed ( i think so because i didn't see anyone bringin joss stick inside ) and no shoes /sandals allowed.

3 Buddha statues ( in the open air ) are placed on a stage just opposite the main shrine. If one wants to pray to the Buddhas, he may get joss stick ( a stick per person ) from the temple staff waiting there. The empty space in front of the stage is the place where devotees gather at night for a mass puja.

During the day, some devotees go up the stage to pay homage to the Buddha by lighting "lotus candles"

The view of the Puja ground from the 4th floor of the main building. Less crowd during the day but crowd grows tremendously as the night falls.

The mass puja session starts at 8.00pm daily. As devotees ( standing in front ) participate in the puja session, hordes of people are busily walking and taking photos behind them

A clearer view of the puja session

Lantern Festival - i don't why it is called Lantern Festival, because they are not that many lanterns around and those lantersn are just normal Chinese lanterns which could be seen in many other places even in shopping mall, nothing spectacular about the lanterns.

Lumbini Garden - a permanent feature here

This little pond adds to the serenity of this garden ( on normal days ). Of course during festivals this place is far from being serene.

The mini Lumbini, the birth place of the Buddha

Mini holy city, Kushinagar

Another mini city, this one is Sarnath

Still inside Lumbini Garden

Lumbini Garden at night. Many of the figurines here are nice to look at from afar but not when we get closer to them because they are made from pieces of paper based materials pasted together, the outlines are clearly visible.

Brightly lit mini pagodas in the middle of a small pond located beside the Lumbini Garden

What is on the background ? Well it is a ferris wheel. This is the first time i see a ferris wheel in a temple but suprisingly at night, the lights from this wheel compliments very well with all the lights in the compound.

At the edge of the temple is another unnamed garden where is 20 feet revolving tiger is located.

Also taking up a spot in the garden are these two cute looking and mischievous pandas

... and the tiger. There are also twelve other animals represented in the Chinese zodiac here

There are many Buddha statues scattered around the temple compound. This is one of them. The grey color container in front of the Buddha statue is the "donation box". ( this one actually is inside the Lumbini Garden )

This building holds the Kesi Arts Exhibition and Arts Gallery both located on the ground floor. On the 2nd level, visitors are guided and given opportunities to copy Buddhist verses and on the 3rd level is the much revered Relic Shrine. Though this shrine is open to public but visitors are not allowed in freely. There are temple staff guarding the staircase leading to the shrine. Those who do not dressed properly are not allowed in. I did went up there, the small room housing the relic was packed with people praying, guided by a monk, out of respect i did not take any photos which i think is not allowed to do anyway. This is also another building where people come to get run away from the afternoon heat as the whole building is air-conditioned.

The Kesi Arts Exhibition Hall exhibiting pictures of Buddhas made from pure silk. Some of these pieces are for sale because i spotted one with a tag "Reserved".

These beautiful and very detailed arts are fully hand-made from pure silk.

This lady from China demonstrates the art of embroidery that produces beautiful masterpieces as shown above.

The art gallery. Exhibiting photos taken by professional photographers

This 5 storey building ( if i was not mistaken ) houses the exhibition hall, multi purpose hall ( one of them used for the Zen Lifestyle exhibition ) and a university like lecture hall.

Two "tigers" greet visitors outside the building.

Just outside the exhibition hall is this Thousand Hands Buddha statue where one can pick a holy verse for himself. First one has to be on the knee, recite a holy phrase 3 times, then proscrate to the Buddha before picking up a piece of paper containing the holy verses. The box beside the statue is the donation box but it is optional.

The exhibition hall offering mostly religious and some non religious books. During the day, visiting this temple can be very hot. This hall offers respite to visitors who want to get away from the heat because it is fully air-conditioned.

A "monk" and his "disciple" greet visitors at the entrance. This cute "monk" is a hit with visitors who take photos with him. Young girls could not resist "pinching" his cute reddish cheeks.

His less cute and less popular "disciple"

Zen inspired living

Stuffed tiger toys for sale outside the exhibition hall

There is a section where statues of various deities ( many of them ) are being erected and each of them comes with a description, so visitors can read and learn about these deities.

This year Valentine Day falls on the 1st day of Chinese New Year. Seems like Valentine Day is not forgotten even in a Buddhist temple. This "heart" is formed by lotus flowers of various colors

Throughout the entire Chinese New Year period, stage performances by high school students were held daily from 7.30pm to 8.00pm.

This brightly lit walkway leads to the foodcourt


Faid said...

could i upload your photos here to other site? with credit of course~

btw thanks for sharing the pics :)

Fhez said...

sorry for the late reply. by all means go ahead, with or without credit it's fine but with credit it would be better because it's like promoting my blog. thanks

Jaz said...

Most hostels are an unbeatable value for the money.

Pousada Do Rio Quente

Anonymous said...

may i know, can we get there (Dong Zen Temple) from KL with public bus? Thanks a lot

Anonymous said...

It would be greatly appreciated if you could provide going there by Public Transport.
This is very useful for domestic and international tourists/travellers like me. Because I do not enjoy being rip off by the cab drivers.

Thank you very much in advanced.