Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Trip To Malacca

Last month I went to Malacca in Southern Malaysia together with 20 members of our society. We were guests of the Sek Ya Yee Temple whose members greeted us warmly and looked after us with great hospitality. Here are a few photos I took in the old part of the town. This is my favorite photo. I took it is the workshop of a stone sculptor who invited me in.


िजगु मन said...
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Unknown said...

Sekh Kia Eenh Temple is the correct spelling good sir.

Unknown said...

Forgive my presumptiousness, I assumed that it is in fact Sekh Kia Eenh temple that you were referring to. As far as I am aware there is no other temple named "sek ya yee" in Malacca.

Unknown said...

opps my bad again, "Seck" not "sekh"

Anonymous said...

I like the photo of the stone sculptor's workshop. Being a worker in stone myself, I'm always keen to see the work of others.

I really like the little statue of Jizo or Ti Tsang (Kṣitigarbha in Sanskrit) on the left-hand side of the photo.
I've always thought the Buddha should be depicted with a shaved head like Jizo. I've read a few stories that explain why Buddha is shown with hair, but I think these are just invented. I can't name any in particular, but I'm sure there's a few suttas that say Buddha had a shaved head (and not just immediately after he left home) - like the one where Buddha is insulted by a Brahmin and called 'Mundaka' or 'Shaveling'. If Buddha had hair, why insult him thus?
I do wonder why Buddhist artists depict him with hair. Aesthetics? Artistic license? Or were the original artists Jain? The Buddha does resemble Jain saints just about perfectly (although the Jain saints are naked!). Someone should do some kind of research on this. Not me. Someone else. I don't really care THAT much! :)

Shravasti Dhammika said...

Dear Mushinronsha
You are quite right in saying that it would be more ‘anatomically correct’ to depict the Buddha with a shaven head. I know of only one place in the Tipitaka where the Buddha is described as being shaven, in the Sutta Nipata, other than when he first renounced the world. So why have images of the Buddha from the very beginning shown him with hair? I suspect it was an iconic convention allowing him to be distinguished from other monks, e.g. Sariputta, Moggallana, etc. For a bit more in this subject see

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bhante. No doubt you're probably right.
Considering that no images were made of the Buddha (or indeed anything written about him or the dhamma) for several centuries after his death, we should view these depictions as icons rather than true representations.
I must say though that I'm not much of a fan of symbolism, allegory or metaphors. Nuance, innuendo and other subtleties tend to get on my nerves. So being, I'd prefer Buddha depicted a little more realistically.
But then again, it's not about the statues is it?

Shravasti Dhammika said...

Dear Mushinronsha,
I know exactly how you feel. All too often theological concepts that have become unbelievable or unacceptable are dubbed‘symbolic’, ‘allegorical’ or ‘metaphors’ when their supporters can no longer believe them or support them but cannot throw them out, or when it would be embarrassing to do so. This is when the claim of ‘symbolic’ etc is used as a defence manoeuvre. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that some concepts are best communicated through symbols, etc. Like many things, they are legitimate but they can be misused. In the case of Buddha statues, they pertain to art and have no significance in Dhamma.

Buddha said...

Statues of Buddha may be just art..but whenever i see one , or even statues of Hindu Gods, i become somewhat Mindfull & i am more Reluctant to evil things or utter a Lie for that Moment.
In a sense Pictures or Statues of Buddha or other Hindu Gods instill a Sense of Morality in me, which eventually is the baisc Foundation of Panna.
Again this is only my View.