|Clockwise from left : |
The pagoda of Kek-Lok-Si ; View from inside the incline-lift looking down from top ;
The Omnipresent Bodhisatva deity statue ; Stone carved rabbit from the 12 Chinese zodiac animals
|Some of the deities' statues...|
|'Wishing-Ribbons' - purchase a strip of ribbon, different color represents |
different wishes-offerings, write a person's name on it, tied it on the wishing-tree'
I've always like to play tour guide to newbie explorers coming to this historical and cultural place of interest. Explaining the history, touring every floor leading up to the temples, going in to every memorabilia shops - in short, checking out every corner of the huge multi-tiered pagoda and clustered temples. And all these activities will usually eat up 2-3 hours if I do make the ‘tourists’ aka friends, to really explore, admire, snap photos and taking short rests in between.
|The pavilion built over a man-made pond with its beautiful koi fish|
|Candles offering area, just outside the prayer hall where i was in.|
|A photo file from a few years back - taken when the monks were chanting prayers|
in the exact same prayer hall.
|I captured this moment, from where I was sitting, at the corner|
Somehow I decided I didn't want to be at present with the moment anymore. So I let my thoughts fly - aimlessly. And it wandered briefly before settling on a distant memory of some 15 years ago. My heart sorrowed and I debated whether I should dig in on the memory further. I relented.
Why did the memory came back so clearly after such long years had passed? Well actually, I caught the sight of a few kneeling-stools lined in a horizontal row - right in the middle of the hall - directly facing the Gods. The stools.
It brought me back to that precise day – where he was kneeling on one of the similar stools, placing his palms together upright, head bowed with eyes closed in prayer mode.
I asked him after he had finished praying, “Why did you kneel and pray to the Gods – Chinese pagan Gods!” I wanted him to explain, also in part wanting to chastise him because he’s a Christ follower. And so am I. Only difference is, he was a born Christian, while I, a convert - from the same Chinese pagan Gods religion – the exact same one which I’m chastising him for.
He looked at me blankly. He was still in kneeling position. He stood up and said ‘‘They are all the same. When I pray, I’m not praying to the statues. I’m praying to the omnipresent force which is beyond the statues, in which the latter is only an embodiment of the force, nothing more.”
Some sense had been put in me. Somehow deep in me, I knew it was a truth, a truth I knew almost all along. But I was still livid. Maybe my newly self-superiority ego had been put in place. And I didn’t like it, cause I was a new convert at that time. I had to ‘show’ something of myself to prove it.’
But also at the same time, came a little silent question that bugged me in my head. Had I turned into one of ‘them’? ‘Them’ - the exact kind of people, the-holier-than-thou attitude that had once repelled and deter me from converting in the first place? …….
Time must have elapsed quite much. My mind had flew too far, too deep, causing me to jolt when my phone buzzed. A message from Sha, prompting me to head to the main entrance of the main temple outside. She and Jen had finished their walkabout in the temples and pagodas and they were waiting for me.
I got up. Before I put my foot out from the hall, I turned around and looked once again to the stool and thought, I've grown so much mentally, emotionally and spiritually since. And yet I've still so much to learn.
Though my journey with EW, the very man that knelt on that stool, had far long ended. But my journey with omnipresent God is still a beautiful on-going journey. A story that has so much more still to be told.
|The resident chubby cat of Kek Lok Si - staying close with its owner in one of the |
(will be continued - Snippet 2 …)