Monday, August 30, 2004

Jiu Li Dong - Day 3

Went there at 8+pm and left about an hour later.  As with Saturday, there was a group of Taoist priest in the inner sanctum and a group of Buddhist monks in the outer compound.  In addition, there was action at the wayang stage outside the temple complex.  So you can imagine the NOISE LEVEL in that area!
Not quite sure if the Taoist priests were performing the same rites, but the Buddhist monks were performing a "chao du" ceremony to "rescue" the soul of a mother who died of child birth some years ago.  Her husband and son were the "main players" in the ceremony, with an abbot and groups of monks helping out.  Unfortunately I do not know the specifics of the ceremony.  Maybe Ronnie can help explain it - and thanks Ronnie for telling me all these.  Basically the ritual took quite a while, with a lot of bowing, kneeling and praying round a tower full of paper effigies.  The "abbot" went round and round and at various points broke some bowls and glasses, sometimes using a stick to hit them.  The father and son pushed the paper tower, in the process raising an effigy representing the mother, perhaps bringing her away from the lower level of Hell.
Out there at the wayang, a group of all-men troupe was performing, with a huge statue of Tua Yeh Peh standing at one end of the stage "watching".  A signboard on the stage says "Woman and 'Kai Ren' not allowed onto stage"  [Kai Ren literally - "Open Persons"  - does anyone knows what's that?].  In front of the stage was a huge tentage with hundreds of "ling wei" plus offerings dedicated to individual dead persons.  It's like the dead watching the wayang!  Amazing sight!  There is a little structure to the side of the tentage which holds more ling wei's and offerings, plus statues/effigies of Tua Yeh Peh, Li Yeh Peh and other deities.
So much happening!  I will definitely try to drop by tomorrow as well!
And yes, met Ronnie for the first time - we must organise a proper meet one day!
To the bed now!
Wee Cheng

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