Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Five and more temples in Kaohsiung - Chi-Ming-Tang

This temple was really big and judging by Gods worshiped there probably the most important. Chi Ming Tang means Temple of Enlightment. Sign in English at the entrance was very welcoming to see inside.

There are four floors in the temple. First is at the hight of outside oven, second floor has front altars (which you can see in video at the begining), third floor is semifloor between fourth and second, and has small inner yard with fountain and dragons. Forth floor is the main floor.

Video: follow me inside Chi-Ming-Tang

I did some research and will try to explain what can be seen in this temple.

On the wall of inside yard, statues of God of Thunder Lei Kung and his helper Tien Mu. God of Thunder is easy to recognize – he holds hammer and chisel. His assistant has mirrors and is creating lightning flashes during thunderstorm.

In the video, you can see dragons and fountain itself from this inside yard.

inside temple
Image: God of Thunder and his assistant, right to left

Here I have to explain that in Taoism, both heaven Gods and canonized important historical persons are worshiped.

These historical persons could be for instance commanders of armies who won important battles, persons who had supernatural capabilities during their life time, scholars who made important contribution to religion and literature etc. Most of the Gods are from this category.

dragons and pearl
Image: dragons and pearl, above fountain

Next, I am going into a big hall on topmost - forth floor to see statues of more important Gods, who can give people happiness, wealth, health, success etc. These Gods are worshiped. Statues of most important Gods are located in the center.

Inside temple
Image: look inside upper floor

On the altar are small yellow plates with the name of God, statue represent.

Image: Statues of Shui Kuan (God of Water), Tien Kuan (God of Heaven) and Ti Kuan (God of Earth)

These three Gods have their own function - Shui Kuan averts evil, Tien Kuan gives happiness and Ti Kuan grants remission of sins.

Image: God's statue inside temple - Tai Shang Lao Jun

Upper part has decorative doors. On the doors drawings of Four Heaven Kings . They hold items or talismans, which allowed them to concur their enemies in the past, for example, mandolin – changed direction of wind, sword - caused tornado etc. As Four Heaven Kings are drawn on the doors, they can act as protectors of devine Gods.

Image: Kind holding mandolin - represents direction of East

Inside temple
Image: another King

Image: altar on the side

Image: drawing on the side of upper hall. I tend to think that picture on the right is for God of Examinations - Kuei Hsing

Image: drawing on temple wall - this picture is typical - scholar and assistant enjoying tea under beautiful scenery

temple flowers
Image: Flowers outside temple

temple owen
Image: oven outside of temple to burn golden money

Next temple is Sping and Autumn Pavilion.

Google map:
Red roof on the left is main hall. Between both red roofs is dragon fountain.

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