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South Seas Freedom Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Welcoming you on the Mezzanine storey, is the statue of the compassionate South Seas Freedom Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, sitting in the middle of the Dharma Hall, where many Buddhist ceremonies commence from.
On both sides of the mezzanine gallery, you will find an interesting display of both local and overseas eminent monks exhibited in the Eminent Sangha Museum. At the rear of this floor, you will notice a quiet chamber called the Ancestral Memorial Hall with a benevolent and compassionate Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha statue, surrounded by a number of ancestral tablets.
South Seas Freedom Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara in BTRTM Dharma Hall

As mentioned above, you will see in the Dharma hall, a statue of the compassionate South Seas Freedom Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, giving blessings to all visitors.

The South Seas Freedom Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is seated in the Lalitasana (relaxation) posture with Her left foot lowered on a lotus and Her right foot atop a rocky ledge by the sea. Her left hand is resting on the ledge with Her right hand resting on Her right knee. Her hair is tied in a high chignon with a lotus crown adorned with the lotuses. She wears a jewelled necklace, flowing scarves and a flowing skirt.

About South Seas Freedom Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

This Avalokiteshvara stone statue (left), displayed in our Buddhist Cultural Museum on the 3rd floor, is iconographically closest to the South Seas Freedom Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara statue. It shares common features such as the hands and legs postures. Seated in the lalitasana posture (the pose of royal ease) with Her head backed by an aureole and Her hair neatly combed and tacked into a tall and ornate tiara, She wears flowing scarves and dhoti with lotuses sprouting from gushing water supporting Her feet. The main difference here is that Her upper body twists in the opposite direction of her lower body, forming an S Curve (i.e. She looks towards Her left while Her feet points to Her right forming a diametrically opposed ‘S’ shape). Her left hand resting on a stack of scriptures holds an upturned vase.

Shown above is another stone statue in our Museum (ZZ030) which also shares many common iconographic features with the South Seas Freedom Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Here Avalokiteshvara’s bare feet rest on the rocky formation itself. She wears a thick necklace made of closely knitted plates of various shapes and sizes, and sports the S Curve figure with Her left hand resting on a rock holding a ruyi sceptre. She is flanked on Her left by a benign squatting male lion clenching one end of Her long scarf in his mouth glancing upwards. Looking to Her left, She holds the other end of the scarf in Her right hand.

Development of BTRTM South Seas Freedom Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

The South Seas Freedom Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara statue is modeled after a similar Tang period statue at Suanlin Temple, Mount Wutai (above).

This was handcrafted by China Chin Ting Enterprise Co Ltd, Fuzhou, China.

It was hand painted by Shanghai You Shan Guan Decorative Design Co Ltd, led by Mr Zhang Jian.

The Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara was consecrated during the BTRTM Grand Consecration Ceremony on 17 May 2008.

About Dharma Hall

The concept of a Dharma Hall started in China during the Jing Dynasty. This hall is usually located in the monastery’s private area, out of bounds to the public, next to the Abbot’s quarters. The hall is normally used for the Dharma lectures by the Abbot and eminent monks to the monks in the temple. It is also where the Abbot is ceremoniously invited to proceed to the main hall for the commencement of various Buddhist ceremonies.

About Longetivity Tablets

These tablets are inscribed with the names of our sponsors who contribute towards the operations of the Temple. These tablets are also used for the annual Rains Retreat Ceremony, where the entire 600 chapters of the Maha Prajna Paramita Sutra are chanted.

 

These tablets have been specially and exclusively designed for our Temple by Yueqing Global Arts and Crafts Factory of Zhejiang, China.

Sponsorship of these longetivity tablets range from $30,000 to $6,000.
BTRTM South Seas Freedom Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara Ceremonies These tablets are also used for the annual Rains Retreat Ceremony, where the entire 600 chapters of the Maha Prajna Paramita Sutra are chanted.


Bibliography:

  1. Charles F Chicarelli, Buddhist Art, An Illustrated Introduction, Silkworm Books, 2004, ISBN 974-9575-54-7, page 105 – 106, fig 57
  2. Tom Lowenstein, Treasures of The Buddha, The Glories of Sacred Asia, Duncan Baird Publishers, 2006, ISBN 9-781844-833054, page 106

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