Friday, March 28, 2008

Kun Iam Tong 觀音堂 (观音堂)

Located at Avenida do Coronel Mesquita in Macau The Kun Iam Tong is a Temple for the Goddess of Mercy. The temple was founded in the 13th century, with the present structure dating back to 1627 which make the temple as one of the oldest, biggest and wealthiest temples in Macau (the other two are A-Ma Temple and Lin Fung Temple (Temple of the Lotus).

There are open courtyards and ornately embellished halls, dedicated to the Precious Buddhas, the Buddha of Longevity or Kun Iam. The deity is dressed in embroiled silk and her clothing is changed every year. Flanking the Kun Iam are eighteen Buddha statues and one of them is said to be carved in the image of Marco Polo who studied Buddhism in the temple. The adjoining rooms hold funeral chapels and scrolls honouring Kun Iam.

A terraced garden is located behind the temple. The temple also known as the site of the first Sino-American treaty which was signed in 1844, between Ki Ying, the Viceroy of Canton, and Caleb Cushing, the United States minister. Close by is a marble statue of a monk. There are four old banyan trees here and their branches seem to intertwine. These old banyan trees are called the Lovers Trees and are a symbol of marital fidelity. Fountains, groves of bamboo and smaller shrines in honour of departed priests can be found on other parts of the Kun Iam Tong garden.

The feast day of Kun Iam is celebrated on the 19th day of the second, sixth, ninth and 11th moons.

觀音堂又稱普濟禪院。 是澳門三大禪院中規模宏大、歷史悠久、佔地廣闊、建筑雄偉的一家。 建於明朝末年, 距今約三百六十多年。 觀音堂除在於其悠久歷史以外, 更是簽署中美「望廈條約」的地方。 禪院為中國古翬飛式的佛教建筑, 具中國名山古剎的特色。 禪院的首座是大雄寶殿, 次殿是長壽佛殿, 后座正殿是觀音殿。 院后還有廣闊幽深的后花園, 是一座具規模港澳罕有的佛寺建筑。

大雄寶殿正對禪院, 供奉三尊三寶佛像, 皆為丈八金身。 其中之一為佛祖釋迦牟尼, 殿旁懸有一個已有三個半世紀的歷史銅鐘。 殿頂檐頭瓦脊鑲有明朝琉璃瓦及精工鑲嵌的石灣公仔。

次殿是長壽佛殿, 供奉長壽佛, 象徵佛陀普渡眾生的精神。 進入主殿觀音殿, 供奉觀音大士蓮台, 樟木雕塑, 18羅漢分列主殿兩旁, 雕工精細, 造型神態活現, 其中位於左面的一尊羅漢, 眼睛浮突、鼻骨高隆、鬢發卷曲,極像外國人, 據雲就是意大利威尼斯人馬可孛羅, 他曾在中國研習佛理。

禪院內進的前廳挂有一幅人稱「大笑佛」畫像。 無論從那個方向欣賞畫像, 佛相均咧咀相視而笑。 院內收藏了很多名家的書畫、書法、文物包括馳譽中外畫壇的嶺南派大師高劍父及乃徒關山月, 有嶺南三大詩家之稱的陳恭尹, 著名學者章太炎等人, 他們的作品懸挂於殿堂供游客欣賞。 在院內僧舍客堂屏壁, 雕花金飾, 而書法雕刻, 亦見清雅。 兩度屏風, 每度刻四屏條, 收米芾、董其昌、劉墉等歷代名人手跡, 刻工精細。


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