Guan Im Deng Temple
An endearing refuge of hope and goodness for common folks
Set on the side-road of Jalan Kampung Paya, which extends westward from Jalan Raja Uda along its southern section, is a temple that is very close to the hearts of local folks. This is especially because the origins of the Guan Im Deng Temple are rooted in compassion and poignant historical links to a rural village in China.
Dedicated to Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, the temple was founded in 1960 by a charitable monk from Pu-tien village in Fuchien, China. This is significant as the majority of Chinese in Butterworth trace their ancestry to Fuchien province.
The temple features as its central deity an image of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara which is a form of the revered Kuan Yin. A stone tablet with the history of the temple inscribed in Chinese is featured in the interior court behind the prayer hall
Many locals frequent the temple as it is considered to exude gentle but powerful vibrations for blessing and appeasement. They include students sitting for exams, working adults embarking on business ventures and married couples seeking blessings for children.
One particular phenomenon observed here is the ritual of dropping geomancy sticks by shaking a special cylindrical container for divination. The configuration of the stick that falls is used to interpret guidance delivered from the heavens. Some locals are known to come here very regularly, even every morning before embarking on their daily chores, to get an idea of how they should the steer through the rest of the day.
Thrice a year the temple holds religious celebrations to commemorate Kuan Yin’s manifestation day. Free vegetarian meals are given to the public throughout the day. Major prayers are also held on the first and fifteenth day of the month according to the lunar calendar.
Written by Himanshu Bhatt
Photographs by Adrian Cheah