Lon Wa Buddhist Temple

A big, fat, and joyously smiling buddha statue set in a lotus-designed dais within a man-made pond of a hundred lotus and a hundred carps welcomes you as you entire the Lon Wa (or Lon Hua) Temple in Davao.

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Just behind the statue must be the main hall because it is easily the biggest among the other halls in the temple. The main hall is guarded by two lion statues. The right one is a male and the left one a female. It is said that you can distinguish them based on what they are stepping on. The male one is supposed to have his paw resting on the world.

The roof of the hall is crowned by twin dragons facing a red orb. This is a common detail in many chinese temples and may represent some sort of a protection charm or a treasure. I believe these dragons were a relatively new addition to the roof since they were not present in most Lon Wa pictures I found in the internet.

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The main hall is set in dark red wood finish from floor to ceiling. A couple of stand lamps and a small chandelier, in addition to large glass windows, are the only light source giving the hall an overall subdued hue. At the front end of the hall is an altar stage where another buddha statue sits, this time flanked by smaller non-buddha statues (I assumed so because they are not sitting). These statues, I think, must be his (or her?) disciples. Below the altar are some kneeling pads, a round intricately carved wooden bell, and some pleasant-smelling incense sticks, of course.

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Somewhere to the back right of this hall is a smaller altar, but for me is the more impressive one. Here a golden buddha with a thousand abnormally tiny arms is housed in glass. On either side of the statue is an orange-gold cone-shaped man-high lamp. The statue reminds me so much of the Indian god Shiva who also has a lot of arms but instead of being gold, was blue all over. Looking up through the internet, I found out that the statue is more aptly called the boddhisatva Kuan Yin, which translates loosely as the compassionate rebel.

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Just outside the altar are wooden carvings which depict the struggle and life of the Buddha.

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On the other side of the altar, that is, to the back left of the main hall, is the altar of the temple founders. And outside it, is a tablet supposedly marking where the ashes of the original founder of the temple is buried.

The Lon Wa Buddhist Temple is said to be one of the largest buddhist temples in the Philippines. It is located along Cabaguio Avenue, Davao City. Locals simply call it the chinese temple.

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