Up high on the mountain road to Chaloklum Village, stands a Chinese Temple overlooking Chaloklum Bay. Sometimes when the weather is fine and the sky is clear, you can see Koh Tao, another paradise island north of Koh Phangan which is about 70 km away. But this particular temple was not just built for a mountain view point...
About five years ago, a lady from Bangkok had come to Koh Phangan because of her strange dream. In her dream, the Kuan Yin, a Chinese Goddess, came to visit her and told her to build a lighthouse on Koh Phangan for the fishermen there were having trouble to get back to the island in the dark.
The lady woke up with happiness that the goddess had given her a chance to make great merit so she went to see a monk in Surat Thani and told him her dream. The monk took her to Koh Phangan and the first time she saw the land on top of the hill, she told the monk that it was the same place as in her dream.
News spread out and donations came from everywhere. The amount was a lot more over than to build a lighthouse so the lady and the monk decided to build a temple instead.
They took two years to finish it and now a place that was supposed to be a lighthouse had turned into a gorgeous Kuan Yin Shrine, a landmark of Koh Phangan.
The temple has ornate decorations with three buildings in the compound. The main building which is built in Chinese style chapel is housed a beautiful statue of Kuan Yin. The two lower buildings are for guest rooms and activities hall. Outside the main building sits a big smiling Buddha facing the ocean.
Every year, Thai and Chinese from all over Thailand or even abroad come to this temple. They practise meditation, eat vegetarian food, donate money and worship their goddess. At night, lights from the temple shine through Chaloklum Bay. Now the fishermen not only have a lighthouse to navigate their way but they also have The Goddess of Mercy to protect themů
KUAN YIN The Goddess of Mercy
Among the numerous gods and goddesses that make up the Chinese pantheon, one stands out as the epitome of Mayahana Buddhism and the embodiment of the maternal Chinese virtues of loving kindness and compassion. This goddess, born on the 19th day of the second lunar moon, corresponding to March 28 in 1986, to March 18 in 1987, and to April 2 in 1988, is Kuan Shih Yin Tzu Tsai or, more simply, Kuan Yin.
The goddess, Kuan Yin is claimed as a patron deity by both the Taoists and the Buddhists and her image is to be found in most temples in the Republic of China. She is worshipped by women seeking offspring, seafarers, farmers, travelers and merchants. In fact, the name "Kuan Yin" shows the universality of her influence as it means, "One Who Sees and Hears the Cry from the Huamn World."
The Chinese legend concerning Kuan Yin tells the story of the king of a small country, located in southwestern China, circa 300 B.C., who had three daughters, Kuan Yin being the youngest. As Kuan Yin, whose mortal name was Miau Chan, grew up she showed extraordinary talent in studying the mystery of the universe and exhibited a great compassion for all living things. Her gifts were lost on her father, however, as he planned to marry her off to some distinguished man in the hope of their son becoming the future king. Miau Chan absolutely refused to be married and, at length, received her father's permission to enter the Nunnery of the White Bird in Lungshu Hsien.
Her father, although having given his permission, was none too pleased with the idea of his daughter becoming a nun. He, therefore, commanded that she be given the most difficult and degrading tasks to do. Miau Chan's determination to pursue the religious life, instead of being weakened by these tasks, became even stronger. Her father, in his anger and frustration, ordered that she be executed. When the executioner struck Miau Chan with his sword, the sword broke into a thousand pieces. Seeing this, her father ordered her to be strangled, thus succeeding in her murder. Reaching hell, her soul not only did not suffer the anguish of the netherworld, but rather, because of her goodness, changed hell into paradise.
Yama (the king of hell), not wishing his realm to be destroyed, immediately sent her back to life and had her transported, on a lotus flower, to the island of P'ootoo, near Ningpo. Here Miau Chan lived for nine years perfecting herself, healing disease and saving mariners from shipwreck.
It was during this time that her father was stricken by a mortal illness which could only be cured by the hand and eye of the "Never Angry One." Miau Chan, on hearing this, allowed her hand to be cut off and her eye gouged out.
Reduced to an ointment, these parts immediately effected a cure. The king, discovering that he owed his life to his daughter, long thought to be dead, left his kingdom to his chief minister and adopted Buddhism.
Sacrifices to Kuan Yin consist only of fruit and vegetables as it would be blasphemy to offer her meat or wine. If you are at a temple when she is being worshipped, you will hear her devotees solemnly and lovingly chanting her name