A beautiful, elaborately decorated Chinese temple will soon become a new addition to the island’s rich array of captivating sites. Workers are still rushing to finish the temple and iron scaffolding is still standing around its pillars, but the compound has already unleashed its majestic aura compelling an increasing number of passing motorcyclists and pedestrians to stop and gaze in awe.
The temple lies on the main road that connects Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai with the Benoa ferry port.
The Vihara Satya Dharma is officially a place of worship for Buddhist followers, but, judging from the presence of statues from Chinese heavenly mythology, it is likely to be a spiritual place for the adherents of Sanjiao (Three Teachings), the belief system that amalgamates elements from Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism.
In Sanjiao cosmology, Sakyamuni Buddha reigns supreme, but it is the heavenly congregation of Chinese gods and the revered Kuan Im, the goddess of compassion, who directly assist, help and guide mortals in their daily struggle. Rituals dedicated to various gods and ancestral spirits are an integral part of this belief system, which is followed by a large majority of Indonesians of Chinese descent.
The temple’s powerful enchantment lies in its striking colors, meticulous architectural details and impressive carvings, paintings and calligraphy. Once inside, though, all those colorful outer details that are so pleasing to the eye are replaced by a sense of tranquil serenity, the soothing feeling usually felt when in the presence of the divine.
Photos by Anggara Mahendra
Text by I Wayan Juniarta
*published on Bali Daily May 30th http://www.thejakartapost.com/bali-daily/2012-05-30/a-colorful-addition.html