Lin Fa Kung, Tai Hang
Origin of the Temple
Kwun Yum is a Buddhist "bodhisattva" and people have a great respect for her mercy, compassion and salvation. Arising from a saying that Kwun Yum studied preaching on lotus blossoms, some Kwun Yum temples are also called Lin Fa Kung, meaning "Palace of Lotus Flower".
It was said that Kwun Yum had been appearing on a huge rock and villagers therefore built a temple on the rock to worship Kwun Yum. The rock is now commonly called the "Lotus Rock". Another saying was that many refugees fled to Hong Kong from the southern part of China due to the Taiping Rebellion, quite a number of them were settled in Tai Hang. The village elders erected the temple to pacify the residents. Lin Fa Kung was built on a hill slope facing the sea with the nearby old Tai Hang village to its west. It was said that at high tide when sea water ran underneath the arches of the temple, the temple resembled a lotus in the water. However, due to reclamation, the temple is now situated in the maze of buildings.
Kwun Yum (also named as Guan Yin) - Goddess of Mercy
Kwun Yum or Kwun Sai Yum (觀世音) is known for centuries as a deity of sympathy, compassion and mercy. She is willing to hear the pleas of those who are suffering. Kwun Yum is a deity in both Buddhism and Taoism. Kwun Yum in the earlier times was a male divinity, but evolved to be a female deity in the Tang Dynasty. Arising from a saying that Kwun Yum studied Taoist teachings on lotus blossoms, some Kwun Yum Temples are also called Lin Fa Kung or Palace of Lotus Flower. Temples dedicated to Kwun Yum are often alternatively known as Shui Yuet Kung or Palace of Water and Moon (水月宮), which stands for quiet, peaceful and detached from the material world.
Architecture and Relics
Lin Fa Kung is a vernacular building with two halls. Its front hall is in half-octagonal shape with a double-eaves-tended roof and a verandah with western-style balustrades. Unlike most traditional temples where the main entrance is constructed in the middle of the facade, access to the temple is through the two staircases on the left and right side of the front hall. The rear hall is rectangular-shaped and consists of two levels, in between is where the Lotus Rock situated.
The temple houses rich historical relics including a stone made Kwun Yum altar (1885), offering table (1864), copper bell (1865), Choi Moon (1909), etc. In addition, altars dedicated to the worship of Tai Sui (Sixty Gods of Time), Kwun Yum and Wai Tor (Buddhist Temple Guardian) can be found on the upper levels of the rear hall. The ceiling of the front hall is in hexagonal-shaped and decorated with fresco of golden dragon, as if reflecting the close connection between the temple and Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance.
Apart from Kwun Yum (Goddess of Mercy), the temple also houses Tai Sui (Sixty Gods of Time), Wai Tor (Buddhist Temple Guardian) and Yim Choi Sun (God of Wealth).
There are four Kwun Yum Festivals every year and they fall on the 19th of the Second, Sixth, Ninth and Eleventh Lunar Month. Besides, the 26th of the First Lunar Month is the Kwun Yum Open Treasury and thousands of worshippers will queue-up for the event outside the temple every year. The Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance, a traditional event being inscribed onto the third national list of intangible cultural heritage in 2011, will have the dragon's eye-dotting ceremony in the temple on the eve of Mid-Autumn Festival.
This temple was renovated by the Chinese Temples Committee in 1986 and 2014.