Penang – Its Buddhist Temples

This morning in Penang, Malaysia, more or less marked the start of my travels on my Sabbatical.  I went to check out two Buddhist temples. They seem to be in competition with each other,being located right opposite each other on the same street: The Chaiyamangalaram Thai Buddhist Temple and the Burmese Buddhist Temple.  The names themselves present their cultural difference.  In a way it highlights how Buddhism is very much intertwined with the culture in which it takes root, and how the local culture adds to its colour.

I was very much surprised at how large dragons guarded the entrance to the statue of the reclining Buddha.  Dragons have been part of Chinese culture for at least 7,000 years. In China, dragons have long symbolized power, creativity, heaven, and good fortune.  In time, Chinese Buddhist artists adopted the dragon as a symbol of enlightenment.  Obviously it is also part of the Thai culture and it represents for the Thais, magical and supernatural powers.

Buddhist dragons often are depicted holding a mani jewel, which represents the Buddha’s teaching.

There are also usual live animals kept in the surrounding of the temples: tortoise, teraphim, fowls and fish…..  I am still to work out the reason why.

For more pictures, click ‘overseas’, then ‘Malaysia’


16th June

Went to the Snake Temple. The Temple Viper is only one specie.  The snake display next to the temple was very interesting….


MP160036 lores Penang   Its Buddhist Temples Image

Penang Snake Temple