Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wat Pinbang-Onn(วัดปิ่นบังอร)

1889 - Wat Pinbang-Onn(วัดปิ่นบังอร)

Wat Pinbang-Onn is a small Thai Buddhist temple along Green Lane (Jalan Masjid Negeri) in Penang. Actually there are two temples sharing this name, the Inner Sanctuary Temple วัดปิ่นบังอร(ใน) at 355 Jalan Masjid Negeri, and the Outer Sanctuary Temple, วัดปิ่นบังอร(นอก), at 379 Jalan Masjid Negeri.
Though the wat had existed since 1889, yet it was only in 1934 that the name 'Wat Pin Bang Onn' was officially given to the temple by Prince Swasdi,( Prince Svasti Sobhon) a son of King Chulalongkorn of Thailand. Until then, it was simply called Wat Nok or 'Outer Temple, to differentiate with Wat Nai or Inner Temple next door. Prince Swasdi died in 1935 in Penang and his remains were cremated in a special pavilion in front of the bot. Present at the funeral was AM Goodman, the Resident Councillor of Penang who came on behalf of the British ...

Wat Pinbang-Onn is the place of worship for the small community of Malaysians of Thai descent. Many of these come from southern Thailand. Wat Pinbang-Onn is the only temple that observes a Thai ceremony called Soong Prit. This ceremony is held to bid farewell to departed souls, and is a way for the devotees to show filial piety to their deceased parents and ancestors.

In this ceremony, the departed souls are invited back on the 15th day of the 10th moon of the Thai calendar. Chariots made of food are prepared for the ceremony. These are offered to the departed souls along with prayers that they rest in peace. Along with the Thais, some Chinese have also observed Soong Prit because they believe that this form of an cestral worship will bring them merit.

A short history of Watt Pinbang-Onn
The former name of Pinbang-onn temple was Watt Batu Lancang( วัดบาตูลันจัง). Later on Watt Batu Lancang was given to a new name to Watt Pinbang-onn. It was given by Krom Phrasawasdiwatnavisid (1865-1935)(more commonly known as Prince Svasti Sobhon or Prince Svasti Vatanavisishtha )who was the father of Phra Nang Cau Phaiphannee. Phra Nang Cau Phaiphannee was the queen of the king Rama VII. It was recorded that Krom Phrasawasdiwatnavisid was given a name to Watt Pinbang-onn on 1st January, 1934 when he was fleeing to Penang.

Pinbang-Onn temple was situated at Green Lane (now Jalan Masjid Negeri). It is a large compound, approximately 50 Rai (about 18 acres). The temple consists of Shrine Hall (Uposatha) , Dhamma Hall (Dhammasala) and Cetiya which are casted with Thai, Burmese and Chinese arts.

Formerly Pinbang-Onn temple was very famous and important place for Thai people in the island. There were several thai government officials who fled to the island during the political unstable. In 1935 Krom Phrasawasdiwatnavisid passed away in Penang and the royally-sponsered cremation ceremony was held in the temple compound. This official cremation ceremony was presided by Somdej Phra Cau Borommavongther Krom Phraya Dhamrongrajanuphap(more commonly known as Prince Damrong Rajanubhab) till end of the ceremony.

Besides the royally-sponsered cremation ceremony of Krom Phrasawasdiwatnavisid, Pinbang-Onn temple was well-known to the public, that is in 1947 when the first Prime Minister of Thailand, Phraya Manopakornnitidhada passed away in Penang. His body also was kept in the temple for performing ceremony and even today his keeping tomb can be seen at the temple compound.

The former abbots of the temple are listed in 7 numbers. The names of the former abbots are as follows:

1. Phra Adhikarn song
2. Phra Adhikarn Pek
3. Phra Adhikarn Imm
4. Phra adhikarn Can
5. Phra Adhikarn Heng
6. Phra Adhikarn Khong
7. Phra Khru Sangharak Ba
8. Phra Khru Pannya Sasanurak (the present chief abbot).


วัดปิ่นบังอรใน/Wat Pinbang-Onn Nai (Wat Nai)

Wat Nai or 'Inner Temple', Wat Nai is a Thai Buddhist temple located at Green Lane (Jalan Masjid Negeri) in Penang. It is located on the same piece of land as Wat Pinbang Onn next to it. According to information given to me, the land was given by Queen Victoria to the Thais. Wat Nai is probably best known for the Malaysian Buddhist Meditation Centre located within its premises.

Within the grounds of Wat Nai are a couple of huge bodhi trees. One of them has a pavilion below it called Jayamangala Mahabodhi. It was opened by the venerable Sayadaw U Pandita on Wesak Day, 7 May 2001, corresponding to Buddhist year 2545. The other bodhi tree, called Vijayuttra Mahabodhi, is located at the entrance way of Wat Nai, and has a small shrine to it.

One of the principal buildings of Wat Nai is the Tiratana Sima, or Sam Poh Tian / Triple Gems Hall. It was built in the style of Chinese temples, with dragon and curved roof ridges. The Tiratana Sima underwent restoration in 1985 through funds collected by Kathina devotees. The restored hall was opened by the venerable Phra Khru Sorabhanpisuddhgana of Wat Mahathat, Bangkok, on 18 October 1986.

1968 Malaysian Buddhist Meditation Centre(MBMC)

Malaysian Buddhist Meditation Centre is a Thai Buddhist meditation centre at 355, Jalan Masjid Negeri (Green Lane) in Penang. It is located within the grounds of Thai Buddhist temple , วัดปิ่นบังอรใน/Wat Pinbang-Onn Nai (Wat Nai).

The Malaysian Buddhist Meditation Center (MBMC), established in Penang in 1968, It became the first meditation temple in Malaysia, where Buddhist meditation was taught systematically. The monk and lay teachers trained there played an important role in introducing Vipassana (Insight) meditation in the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition , to university students and young professionals in 1970s and 1980s. This lead to the spreading of the meditation to other parts of Malaya. Initially it was popular with English educated professionals, but it later spread to Chinese educated Buddhists.
It is affiliated to the Mahasi Meditation Centre in Yangon, and provides a retreat as well as meditation classes. The meditation teacher is Sayadaw U Pannathami. A disciple of Sayadaw U Pandita of Panditarama of Myanmar (Burma), Sayadaw speaks English well.

Suggested websites:

1.Wat Pinbang-Onn, Penang, Malaysia; http://watpinbang-onn.webs.com/aboutus.htm

2.Malaysian Buddhist Meditation Centre; http://mbmcpg.bravehost.com/activities.html

3. www.karensoft.net.my/mbmc

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