Quan Am Pagoda



Quan Am Pagoda

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This pagoda, also known as Ong Lang, was built by Chinese merchants in 1816 and honors Quan Am (or Kwan Yin), the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. The unusual pagoda is set in two parts, separated by a street. On the south side is a small plaza that adjoins a grotto set in a fish and turtle pond, while the north side houses the main temple complex. The eye-catching roof and entryway are richly adorned with paintings of  saints, gilded scroll- work, and carved  wooden panels depicting dragons, houses, people, and scenes from traditional Chinese life and stories. Inside, the first altar is dedicated to the Buddha, and leads into the main sanctuary, featuring two rotating lotus-shaped prayer wheels inset with scores of Buddha images. Devotees make a donation to the temple and can then affix a label with their name onto one of the images. With each turn of the column their prayer is heard.

Next to the main altar is a representation of Quan Am, surrounded by the images of several other deities, including Amida, or the Happy Buddha, who represents the future; A Di Da, the Buddha of the Past; and Thich Ca, the Historical Buddha, Siddhartha. On either side of the altar are small incinerators. Paper money is burnt here for the benefit of departed souls. The pagoda maintains a large and unusual collection of live turtles for good luck. In a courtyard behind the sanctuary are more altars and images of gods and goddesses.

The entire complex is filled with oil lamps and votive  candles. The latter are small oil- filled glasses with wicks that are  regularly refilled and imbue the air with the fragrance of incense.

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