Tag Archives: Religion

GODDESS GUAN YIN

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Last week Ade continued to work on this sleeve, this time he added the Goddess on the lower arm called Guan Yin. 

Guan Yin means “Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the (human) World”. In Chinese Buddhism, Guan Yin is the same as the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (enlightenment being), the highest form of mercy, compassion, kindness & love. Along with Buddhism, Guan Yin was introduced into China as early as the 1st century AD, and slowly reached Japan on the way from Korea and to the other areas of Southeast Asia. Soon after Buddhism was introduced into the country for the first time around the mid-7th century. 

Guan Yin is very often portrayed as a beautiful woman in long, flowing white robes. In her right hand, she holds a jar containing pure, clear water, while her left hand bears the branch of a willow tree. Sometimes, she is accompanied by either two children or two warriors, while other images show her with a bird or astride a dragon. Some ancient depictions of Guan Yin show her dressed as a young girl holding a fish basket, which has probably contributed to her association with fishermen and the sea in certain coastal areas of China. She protects the distressed and hungry, rescues the unfortunate from danger, and gives comfort and aid wherever it is needed. And different then many other, she puts charity to shame, because she will never ask for donations. She had finally attained enlightenment after struggling with non-things. She was just about to enter heaven to join the other buddha’s when she heard the cries of the poor unsaved souls back on Earth. She felt touched and wanted to help and said that she will never rest until every single soul was brought to the world of Buddha’s. As a ‘holy being’ often called to appear in the most unusual and strange situations, she has the ability to transform into any living thing. In fact she’s better known in India as a male. But she often appears in female form to stay incognito. Guan Yin is without a doubt one of the most beloved deities in both religious and folk beliefs in China. Many believe that Guan Yin is the mother of all mankind, an idea that reminds us of the Virgin Mary.

 

 

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THE MYSTERY OF THE CHICKEN CHURCH

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Last week Ade and me made a trip to Yogjakarta, with actually one mission. Find the Chicken Church!

First I was not sure about making this post because something in me didn’t want to reveal the truth about this mysterious building. But because there’s so less information about this church on the internet, I had to share the true story.

A couple of months ago Ade read a status update of a friend on Facebook talking about a mysterious building called the Chicken Church located somewhere on the top of a mountain close to the famous temple the Borobudur in Magelang. I was instantly fascinated and I directly knew ‘We need to go there’. After checking around on the internet and Google earth (I was convinced the church was ‘photo-shopped’ into the map), I realized there was no one who could exactly explain anything about the history or function of the building, neither his age or exact location. I only knew this was certainly not a tourist attraction. I found a blog of someone in Indonesia who visited the church and gave a small explanation about how to go there. We decided to rent a car and see how close we could come.

We followed the given description and found a small gang leading to a even smaller road into a village. After wandering around for a while we realized we needed some help and decided to ask some locals. Easier said then done, because most people who live in small villages like that are elderly people. They live so isolated that they rarely have any visitors. Besides that they are always very happy to help you, but you have to accept and answer fully in Javanese (Very different from Bahasa), mostly in the style of ‘Aaaahhh yes! Here a little bit to the left… And then a little bit up the hill… And then you have to ask someone again…‘ You can imagine that those are not the most clear descriptions, but with a little bit of fantasy you can guess where you have to go. At the end of the road before we would really drive into the middle of nowhere we found a small house. We decided to ask the people if they could tell us the road to the church. They told us we only had to walk up hill for around 10-20 minutes and we would find the church ourselves. Parked the car and started walking. After crossing a very scary bamboo bridge and struggling for half an hour through the jungle we almost wanted to give up, until suddenly in front of us the head of the chicken appeared. I can tell you, it was the most surreal thing I ever saw. A 30 meter long, building in the shape of a chicken. Sadly enough we saw that the building was in a poor shape. The paint was peeled of the walls and the nice stone ornamental windows on the side of the church we’re damaged. The main structure of the church was still ok.

But the panoramic view was unbelievable. The weird thing is that your seeing something so great and that you want to share it, but that you are the only two people there. From the back of the church you could look into the auditorium of the church, that was empty beside some big white pillars. Because there was some sort of hole on the left side of the church, we realized that there had to be a whole floor underneath it. We decided not to enter the building because it simply looked to unsafe. In the ceiling of the church there was a big cross shaped ‘window’. After a while we decided we had to head back to the car before it would turn dark.

When we arrived in the hotel, I could’t get the church out of my head. Because there was such little information available, I needed to know more. The people in the village, told us it was owned by some Chinese business man who wanted to turn it into a hotel or that it served as a Christian Church, no clear explanations.

I decided to try to find any information on the internet and after being lead from one website to another I found that the church was also known as ‘Banyak Angkrem‘, which leaded me to a blog of a guy who was asking himself the same question as me ‘What is this place?‘.

The church turned out to be a dove instead of a chicken. His blog leaded me to an email conversation between a girl and a man who turned out to be the owner and builder of this strange church named Daniel Alamsjah. Finally some answers on all my questions!

Daniel was married to one of the woman in the nearby village in the 90’s, the story goes that one day in 1988 Daniel got a vision of God. God told him that he had to build a church on a hill in the shape of a dove. A place to unite Christians from all around the world. Every day God spoke to him in this vision . Until one day he decided to visit his mother in law who was living in a small village on the foot of the hill Menoreh, called Gombong. Daniel had a strong feeling that he needed to climb this hill, when he arrived on the top of the hill he decided to pray. ‘Was this the hill he saw in his visions?‘ He realized that he would never have enough money to buy this ground and build the church of his vision. He prayed and he prayed for days on top of the hill until he knew that God would help him no matter what. Within 6 months he managed to own 2,5 hectare of the ground on top of the hill and in 1994 he finally started building on his dream project. Due to the economic crisis in Indonesia that time, he run out of money and the sponsors who worked with him on this project him lost interest. In the time that the project came to an end he completed 70% of the church. Until today Daniel still believes that one day he will realize his dream project with the help of God.

What seemed to be a house of some mysterious, occult, society turned out to be a very ambitious, religious project of a man who got a vision of God.

Later I found some information on the internet that in the early days this building, in that time called Bukit Merpati, also served as a rehab clinic for drugs users. In the end, after finding out the true story it didn’t actually change anything about my opinion how surreal and somehow creepy this place was. Certainly something worth visiting when you’re around!


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Underneath here you can find a video impression of the church.

 

 

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TIBETAN ARM PIECE

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The symbol in the top is named Tram.

Traṃ is the seed syllable of Ratnasambhava.

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