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Tian Hou, Chiwan:

 A look inside these structures

On February 19, 2005, my buddy Lila and I visited Tian Hou and, for the first time, discovered that the Bell and Drum Towers were open to the public.  Here's a look inside.

Elsewhere, I have written about the balance between the drum and the bell, noting that whereas "the Bell with its continuous tone fading into silence signifies Eternity," we can see that "the Drum with its tick-tick-tick signifies Time..."

Most folk temples mount both bell and drum on a small, portable, easel-sized tower.  Buddhist temples generally separate them, either in towers as here, or hanging on either end of the main hall.  This temple has many elements more like a Buddhist than a folk temple (including the presence of the Eighteen Arhats and manifestations of reverence to "A-mi-to-fo," the Amitabha Buddha of Pure Land Buddhism).

About the photos: All photos on this page are copyright 2005 by James Baquet

The Drum Tower

The Bell Tower


Outside (viewed from Bell Tower)


Outside (viewed from Drum Tower)

Di Cang Shrine on ground floor

Guan Di Shrine on ground floor

The Drum

The Bell

Little Lila whacks the Big Drum

Inscription on the Bell

This shrine room next to the Sun-and-Moon Ponds was also open that day, and a monk chanted sutras.  The images are of the "Three Sages of the West," Amitabha Buddha (A-mi-to-fo), Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (Guan Yin Pusa) and Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva (Da Shi Zhi Pusa).  The "West" in their title means the "Pure Land of the Western Heaven," the goal of Pure Land practitioners, who chant the name "Amitofo" in hopes of entering the Western Pure Land.


The Exterior

The Interior


Other pages at Tian Hou Chiwan:

The main page

Picture Panels at Tian Hou Miao:
Dragon, Phoenix, and the Eight Immortals

The Main Hall: Interior Figures

The Main Hall: The Eighteen Arhats

Discarded Statues: Sixteen Arhats


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