Material

If you have additional questions about Buddhism, please e-mail them to temple@chungtian.org.au

  • Material Q&A
  • Q1. Why do monastics of the Temple wear yellow robes?

    Reverends in this temple wear identical robes common to that of Tang Dynasty (A.D.618-906). Long sleeves covering the hands are part of the traditional design. Fully ordained monastics usually wear yellow ochre-coloured robes. This earth tone hue derives from the Buddha’s directive that monastics wear clothing assembled from clean but discarded rags, coloured with bark dye to a brownish colour. It also represents the mud of ignorance from which all beings necessarily emerge. For special occasions or service, an additional ceremonial robe is draped over the left shoulder.

  • Q2. In the Temple, to whom is the main shrine dedicated to?

    The main shrine is dedicated to Kuan Yin (Avalokitesvara) Bodhisattva, the Great Compassionate and Merciful One. Kuan Yin’s manifestations are numerous in both male and female forms, and the one representing in the main hall is the ‘Thousand Hands and Thousand Eyes Kuan Yin’ symbolizing his great ability to help all those in need and to see all suffering in the world. The implements held by the hands are metaphors of his infinite power and compassion, as well as of the individual strength a person must summon to overcome unwholesome ways.

  • Q3. What are the eighteen statues at the front gate of Chung Tian Temple?

    They are the eighteen Arhats. Arhats are perfected beings of Hinayana Buddhism who attain enlightenment by listening and practicing the Buddha’s teaching. An Arhat has traversed the Noble Eightfold Path and transcended samsara (rebirth cycle). These Arhats were said to remain in this world to protect the Dharma. They are usually represented as possessing various kinds of supernatural power, symbolized either by objects held in their hands or by wild animals crouching submissively beside them.

  • Q4.   What is a Pagoda?

    Pagoda has its origin from Indian stupa, an ancient type of building used to store sutras and sacred relics of Buddha. With the spread of Buddhism to China, Chinese architectural elements were gradually incorporated into pagoda design. Its tapering design reaching to the sky is synonymous with the idea of practicing Buddhism step by step which finally leads to supreme enlightenment. Although different in appearance from its stupa forebears, it continues to symbolize the Buddha, and building one generates much merit. Nowadays it may be used as a resting place for cremated ashes of devotees.