Friday, August 31, 2018

Sites - Hokkien-Teochew Clan Temple (Phước kien-Thiếu cháu hội quán) @ My Tho, Vietnam

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Hokkien-Teochew Clan Temple (Phước kien-Thiếu cháu hội quán) @ My Tho

My Tho, Vietnam - July 2018
While visiting the My Tho Old Farmers' Market (Chợ Cũ) during a cycling tour in Vietnam, we found tucked behind the market,  a nice old temple. It's actually a Chinese clan temple called the Hokkien-Teowchew Clan Temple. In Chinese the name indicated by Google Maps is 福潮會館(福建公所、潮州公所) which means "Fuzhou Association (Fujian Temple, Chaozhou Office)", meaning it's a clan temple for the Fujian (Hokkien)  and Chaozhou (Teochew) people originating from Fuzhou (Foochow) area of China.

The main entrance door.
It's an old temple with fading paintwork and fading artwork, but it still captured our attention with its authenticity and old charm.

On each side of the main doors are two smaller doors, each with temple guards painted on each leaf. Above is the left door.

And this is the right side door. Both doors are closed and are probably only opened on festive occasions.
The temple guards looked friendly unlike those stern looking ones at other temples. A group of Vietnamese, including the caretaker, were chatting and sipping Chinese tea, peacefully  below the eyes of the benign guards.

To each side of the main temple were annexes dedicated to the Hokkien and Teochew clans respectively. They may have separate door, but indoors they main temple and annexes are connected. A signboard above the entrance door stated "Phước kien hội quán" which means "Hokkien Assembly Hall".

On the other side is the Teochew Clan Annexe. The sign above the door states "Thiếu cháu hội quánwhich means "Teochew Assembly Hall". No, those are not friendly temple guards but my cycling buddies, Fenn and Ying.

On both side walls of the main entrance were large mural paintings. This one on the right shows Red-crowned cranes in a lake scenery. That's the caretaker on the far right.

On the other wall was a mural of Spotted Deers in a mountain scenery.

On the high walls above the main doors were also wall panel painting, most of which depicted sceneries done in monotone Chinese brush style. At the centre is that of a Qilin. But what caught our attention were the two small panels besides the Qilin. These showed foreigners with their face and hands painted pinkish over the monochrome tones; were these French men who were somehow associated with the temple's past?

A close up look at the Qilin painting. It is done in Vietnamese style which like to emphasize on the detailing of the scales.

The roof joists and gable walls also had paintings of Chinese scenery, but these too were faded with age.

A close up of the painting on the left gable wall.

The right side roof joists and gable wall paintings.

Okay, let's go into the temple.
From the entrance door, a corridor with bright flowery tiles leads to the main prayer hall...

... er... but let's have a look at the paintings at the external wall next to the main door.
This one 
showed an old Chinese scene.

Another one showing an old Chinese scene.

This one showed loving birds...

... and the birds kissing lovingly.

Just above the main door is the temple's main sign board with two cute lions at its base.

A corridor with round Chinese lanterns hanging from above leads to the main prayer hall. On both sides of this corridor are open courtyards. On the other side of each courtyard are the clan annexes.

A view of two of the dragon lanterns, a blue one and a colourful one.

And a red one with a green dragon.

View of the main prayer hall, the main altar is at the centre while at the two sides are altars to secondary gods.

The main prayer altar. Like most Chinese temples, at the front-most is the incense burner, followed by the offering altar and at the far end the god's altar.

At one of the open air-well is a small pavilion for making offerings through the burning of hell notes.
I am not sure whether the lady in blue is the assistant caretaker, but her unique hat caught my attention.

On one side was a wall panel sculpture of a dragon flying in the blue sky. Below it seems to be a walled up pond. It's empty now, but most likely from the dragon's mouth water sprays into it.

On the other side was a wall panel sculpture of a tigress and her cub. This sculpture is done in a typical Vietnamese style of using porcelain shards to make ups the animals.
The tiger and dragons represents the yin and the yang; facing outwards the the tiger is always situated on the right.

Well, it's time to leave and continue our cycling. But it's raining, so it's time to say a prayer for the rain to stop.


Hokkien Clan Assembly Hall
(Phước kien hội quán)
ấp Mỹ An, Phường 8, Thành phố Mỹ Tho, Tiền Giang, Vietnam.
Entry fee: Free
GPS & Direction Map: 10.357699, 106.375960

Related/Similar Blogs :

Vietnam : Long Thieng Temple @ Vinh Long
(Chùa Lòng Thiềng)

Vietnam : St. Joseph Cathedral, Hanoi

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Malaysia - KevinTheBigCity Tattoos, Kuala Lumpur : July 2014
A look at a young man's simple but meaningful tattoos.

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps-Cycling Cambodia & Vietnam 2018 / Sites / Hokkien Clan Temple (Phước kien hội quán) @ My Tho

If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)

Friday, August 24, 2018

Sites - Long Thieng Temple (Chùa Lòng Thiềng) @ Vinh Long, Vietnam

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps-Cycling Cambodia & Vietnam 2018 / Sites / Long Thieng Temple (Chùa Lòng Thiềng) @ Vinh Long
                        Footsteps - Jotaro's Travels                       

Long Thieng Temple (Chùa Lòng Thiềng) @ Vinh Long

Vinh Long, Vietnam - July 2018
We found Long Thieng Temple by chance while exploring Vinh Long on our bicycles. Although it looked like a small temple, we were attracted by it's front entrance. Little would we know that this little temple holds some surprises!

When we arrived, the temple gates were closed; fortunately an old caretaker saw our interests in the place and opened up a side gate for us. The entrance arch looks new, but inside was a much older temple.

Beyond the gates was a small compound, probably just about 25 feet by 25 feet, nothing impressive. Beyond it lies the main prayer pavilion, also of mediocre size.

The roof on the temple had ornaments of dragons on both sides, but instead of the colourful dragons usually seen in Chinese temples, these were golden dragons. At the foot of each dragon were qilins, also rendered in gold.

It's the central golden sculpture at the roof ridge that attracted me. It looked like two dragons coming together to form a larger dragon with a fierce gaping mouth. These dragons held up a Buddhist Wheel of Life (the Bhavacakra).

On one side of the compound was a 3-D wall mural, showing dated rivers and mountains scenes.

On the other wall was a shaded corridor with statues of Buddha in various sitting poses. The girls offered prayers to thank for a safe journey so far, and prayed for a continued blessed journey. From left the different Buddha poses are: the Medicinal Buddha, the Meditating Buddha, the Earth Touching Buddha and the Protection Buddha.

A close look of the Protection Buddha on which helps people overcome fear.

The Reclining Buddha also know as the Nirvana Buddha.

At another side of the compound (behind the front wall) is a statue of Guan Yin. In Vietnam, she is known as Quán Thế Âm.

Close up view of a lion carved in grey marble, sitting next to the Protection Buddha.

Into the main hall, an enlightened golden Buddha sits on the main altar flanked by two tall deity monks, instead of the usual handmaidens. In front are smaller Buddha statues all with pearl necklaces.

At another side is a multi-arm Buddha (Marici)sitting on a lotus flower.

On each of the side walls were a set of statues, this one is of NINE sage monks . 
In BuddhismGautama Buddha, was believed to have nine virtues, in which he was:
(1) Accomplished, (2) Perfectly Enlightened, (3) Endowed with knowledge and Conduct or Practice, (4) Well-gone or Well-spoken, (5) the Knower of worlds, (6) the Guide Unsurpassed of men to be tamed, (7) the Teacher of gods and men, (8) Enlightened, and (9) Blessed.
As highlighted by my friend Anne, these nine are part of the Eighteen Arhats (十八羅漢). The other nine can be seen at an opposite altar. They 
are depicted in Mahayana Buddhism as the original followers of Buddha who have followed the Noble Eightfold Path and attained the four stages of enlightenment. They have reached the state of Nirvana and are free of worldly cravings. They are charged to protect the Buddhist faith and to wait on earth for the coming of Maitreya, an enlightened Buddha prophesised to arrive on earth many millennia after Buddha's death (parinirvana).
In Chinese Tradition, they are know as the 18 Luohans, and are generally presented in the order they are said to have appeared to the monk Guan Xiu, and not according to their power: Deer Sitting, Happy, Raised Bowl, Raised Pagoda, Meditating, Oversea, Elephant Riding, Laughing Lion, Open Heart, Raised Hand, Thinking, Scratched Ear, Calico Bag, Plantain, Long Eyebrow, Doorman, Taming Dragon and Taming Tiger.

On another wall was an altar with five stern looking judges.

An interesting sculpture of a tiger carved from knotted wood.

Behind the main prayer pavilion is an open air-well, were a calm Guan Yin sits in meditating pose to welcome visitors.
It is from this point that things get more interesting and the immense size of the temple (belied by it humble small entrance) is realized. Behind the air-well in a larger second prayer hall and behind it a large cemetery. To its left are several small prayer rooms, but on the right was a maze of prayer halls, one leading on to the next!
(.... click here for a satellite view of the temple to see the extent of it's size. All the red roof buildings and a couple of grey-roof ones are part of the temple).

The second prayer hall had a tall mini-pagoda encircled by statues of Buddha and with more statues, each sitting on a tier.
The kindly care-taker was following around, switching on the lights to proudly show his temple.

As on goes through this second all and onto the various halls that it leads to; many altars can be seen, each dedicated to some Buddhist deities, Chinese sages or some local saints, etc.
This one above was labelled : "thành hoàng bổn cảnh" which Google Translated to "royal princess scenery".

This altar is dedicated to Li Tieguai, one of the Eight Immortals.

One to smiling wise sages and judges.

A contrasting one with statue of a warrior next to a scholar.

A statue of Buddha next to a sage riding a "lion-dragon".

Guan Yu (關羽), the Chinese God of War (關帝).

At the end of a large side prayer hall were multiple statues of Buddha, these were quite large ones, and were seated onto the floor instead of an alter. (Again the care-taker had switched on the lights for us).

At a side corridor was another altar to Buddha, with celestial handmaidens lining up the corridor.

Nearby was a large painting of Buddha, up in the celestial sky, surrounded by Buddhist saints, deities and Chinese folklore figures.

An altar to a wise sage.

A poster of Guan Yin carrying the infant Buddha; it reminds me of Mother Mary carrying the Infant Jesus. A poem is inscribe at bottom "Hiểu. Cổ thụ là bóng Mẹ Cha. Cây non là a Vườn Hoa Tuổi bồng. Chả là Nủi mẹ là Sông. Ca con Hiếu thảo.", it recites as, "Understand. The mother is the shadow. Young trees is a flower garden. Nay, my mother is a river. The filial child".

A panel painting of the Guan Yu (關羽), the Chinese God of War (關帝).

With that we left the temple, but not before thanking the care-taker and performing some dana with generous donations into their collection box. After all, we have been having good karma on our tour.

Long Thieng Temple
(Chùa Lòng Thiềng)
P.5,, 82 Nguyễn Chí Thanh, Phường 5, Vĩnh Long, Vietnam.
Phone: +84-2703895136
Entry fee: Free
GPS & Direction Map: 10.25611, 105.97646

Related/Similar Blogs :

Vietnam : Hokkien-Teochew Clan Temple @ My Tho
 (Phước kien-Thiếu cháu hội quán)

Vietnam : St. Joseph Cathedral, Hanoi

You May Also Like :

Malaysia - KevinTheBigCity Tattoos, Kuala Lumpur : July 2014
A look at a young man's simple but meaningful tattoos.

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps-Cycling Cambodia & Vietnam 2018 / Sites / Long Thieng Temple (Chùa Lòng Thiềng) @ Vinh Long
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)