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500 Lohan Temple



Generally, there are rather few monasteries dedicated to the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, 地藏王菩. In Tg Pinang on Bintan Island, Indonesia, there is an interesting Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Vihara dedicated to the Buddhist Bodhisattva.

A yellow signpost points to the entrance of the vihara where visitors enter a gate at the foot of a hill.  A short climb up the slope, the visitor is greeted by a sculpture of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva reach out to beings in the lowest realm.  



Entering the Vihara


To enter the vihara, visitors must pass through an impressive archway guarded by General Heng and General Ha. Next to the archway is a pavilion with Buddhas in Thai style and facing this pavilion is a sculpture of baby Buddha. The surrounding wall is decorated with Tibetian Buddhist symbols.
The main hall is just next to the pavilion where a sculpture of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva sits on the altar. Below it and on the floor is a Taoist deity of filial piety. Guarding the main hall are life size sculptures of the Dharma Protectors Weituo and Sangharama Bodhisattva, 蓝菩萨, more well known as Guan Gong.




500 Arahats, 五百罗汉


From the main hall, a felt of stairs leads visitors to an amazing garden. There, 500 life size sculptures of arahats stand orderly in rows on each of the steps at the edge of the garden. The names of each arahat appear at the base of their sculpture.
Each of the 500 sculptures is extremely lifelike capturing the characteristics, facial features and postures of the arahats. There is a sense of orderly formation and movement at the same time. These 500 arahats must be every photographer’s wonderland.
Facing the 500 arahats are another three great bodhisattvas; Wen Shu Bodhisattva sitting on a lion, Puxian Bodhisattva sitting on a elephant and Guan Yin holding a willow. (文殊菩萨, 普贤菩萨, 观音菩萨)

 

A hidden gem worth looking for


The 500 arahats seem to be main attraction in this vihara. In fact, the locals and tourist maps refer to this vihara as the 500 arahat temple complete with photos of the arahats in the local tourist map.
The vihara is not very easy to find but a few checks with the locals will eventually lead you to the temple. Maybe a little effort required getting there but it is definitely worth it. 






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