Kwan Sing Bio

THE TALE OF HOW KWAN SING BIO TEMPLE WAS BUILT
As the legend said, this temple was formerly a small shrine belonging to a Chinese family who resided in Indonesia. This family used to live in Tambakboyo Village, 30 km to the west of Tuban Town. Approximately 200 years ago, the shrine was going to be relocated to the east. However, the ship carrying the statue of the god Kwan Sing Tee Koen halted in front of the today’s temple precinct.

Since the ship could not resume its course, the crew decided to hold a ‘pue’ ritual. The ritual was performed by throwing a pair of pue. Pue was made of young bamboo split into two and shaped like halved cashew nut the size of an adult palm. The purpose of the ritual was to inquire whether Kong Co Kwan Sing Tee Koen wished to remain in Tuban. If both thrown pue lay open, the ritual had to be repeated. If both pue lay closed, it meant disapproval. If the pue lay one open and one closed, it signified approval.

It turned out that after several repeats of the pue casting, the result was always one open and one closed. This meant that Kong Co Kwan Sing Tee Koen was willing to stay at Tuban.

In this regard, the Kwan Sing Bio Temple was also known as the Tambakboyo Temple among elders in Tuban.

In the Kwan Sing Bio Temple, the chief deity is Kong Co Kwan Sing Tee Koen.

The origin of the crab over the main gate did not derive from any legend, but from the dream of one of the temple caretakers back then. In his dream, a gigantic crab entered the Kwan Sing Bio Temple area.

Eventually, all the temple caretakers agreed to adopt crab symbol as the manifestation of the Kwan Sing Bio Temple gate. In the world, there is no other temple with a crab symbol. For this reason, the crab statue has a unique value for the Kwan Sing Bio Temple regardless of its meaning.

Actually, the Kwan Sing Bio Temple archived the documentation of the temple origin, but all records were burned during Dutch colonialism; hence, the tale has been passed down orally throughout generations. It is therefore difficult to determine the accurate date when the temple was built.

The development of the Kwan Sing Bio Temple faced many obstacles in 1967. In addition to the G-30/S PKI, it was very risky to build the Kwan Sing Bio Temple because racial issues arose, which resulted the ban of creating or constructing any Chinese-related product.

However, this did not discourage the caretakers and the community from renovating the Kwan Sing Bio Temple in secret, as they did not wish to let their place of worship stay in ruins. Once, the caretakers attempted to acquire the legal renovation permit in no avail because of the governmental rules back then. This lasted for quite a long time, until all racial issues were dismissed when ‘Gus Dur’ became the Indonesian president (2000). This brings a very positive aftermath to the temple development and cultural pursuit among the Chinese community in Indonesia.

The same reason also wiped off the association of ‘klenteng’ (temple) from Kwan Sing Bio in 1967 and it was referred to as a Tri-Dharma place of worship instead. The actualization that the Kwan Sing Bio Temple is a Tri-Dharma place of worship can be seen in the Tri-Prophet Room. The Tri-Prophet Room is the manifestation of the doctrines of Tri-Dharma, i.e. the fusion of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. The Tri-Dharma place of worship or Kwan Sing Bio Temple has another name: San See Hu Tju.

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