THE BURUNG MANDI TEMPLE ON BELITUNG ISLAND

The Burung Mandi Temple

Burung Mandi Temple is also called the Temple of the Goddess of Compassion and it is located in Burung Mandi village, Damar subdistrict, East Belitung Regency. It is around 70 km from H.A.S Hanandjoeddin International Airport.

Burung Mandi Temple was founded in 1747 and it’s the sacred place for pilgrims to worship. It stands at the height of 200 meters on a very big rock and faces the sea magnificently.

It is usually very crowded on the 1st and 15th of the lunar calendar. Young and old people bring joss sticks, fake money, flowers and fruits in their baskets. They come to pray for good fortune and a peaceful life. They do hope that the Goddess of Compassion will grant all their wishes, so that they can make a lot of money.

According to the folklore, an angler discovered a bodhisattva statue while he was walking on the beach. The statue was half buried in the sand and the angler picked it up and washed all the mud covering its body. He was hesitating whether to throw it in the sea or rebury it in the same spot. After a while, he made up his mind to take the statue home.

In the dream, the angler saw a bodhisattva meditating on the top of a big rock. She was in white clothes and her long black hair blew like a wave of vibrant beauty. She sat cross-legged in lotus position and a ring of bright light around her head shone like a golden moon. Flow of Buddhist chant filled the air with love and kindness. The fragrance of flowers spread in the wind and the angler felt as if it were the wonderland of amitabha.

After the news spread, the villagers held a meeting and they believed that the bodhisattva’s arrival was the God’s will. As God had a plan for them, they decided to build a temple in the village. Therefore, the bodhisattva would protect them from the influences of evil spirits.

Whenever you’ve a problem, you may use fortune sticks to request an answer from the bodhisattva. This practice is originated in China and known as oracle of Guan Yin in Buddhist traditions.

Hold the cylinder containing a number of fortune sticks and kneel down before the Goddess of Compassion. Say your wish with all your heart and start shaking until one fortune stick leaves the cylinder and falls on the floor. Pick up the fortune stick and look at the number.

You have to toss the Yin Yang block to know whether it is the appropriate number. Yin Yang block is a pair of red woods in the shape of crescent moon. After throwing the Yin Yang block and if one side is bulged and the other is flat, it means you get the correct number. It is called Holy Grail that it represents “yes” or “agree.”

Afterwards, you go to find the fortune paper that matches your number. A fortune paper is a piece of paper which has the poetic phrases. You may ask the temple priest to explain it and he’ll be very glad to help you.

Once, a friend of mine from the United States went there to shake the fortune sticks because he wanted to know whether he had good luck in Dragon Year. As he wasn’t good in Mandarin, he asked me to translate it.

The poetic phrases in the fortune paper said: “The rain is going to subside in the spring. The sun emerges from behind the dark clouds. All the bad vanishes and replaced by the good. Heading forwards, jump and rush through the dragon door.”

My friend was very glad and he bought me a cup of coffee. We walked along the beach in the golden light of the setting sun. The fiery ball slowly sank below the horizon. Everything was silent and the nightfall brought the day to a close.

Later, he sent me a letter to tell me that his business ran very well all the year round. Perhaps he was affected by his own autosuggestion and struggled hard to achieve his success. What do you think of this?

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