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September 1, 2010

Mulian performance (marionette) at Hin Ann Thain Hiaw Keng

A clip on the first part of the Mulian performance (28 August 2010, 19th day of the Seventh lunar month) by chinatownboy:

As some of us have already known, there are numerous characters in the Mulian performance. There are some which I cannot recognize but interesting enough, Dua Ya Pek (大爷伯 White Guard of Impermanence) also appeared for a short while in the performance. Others who were present included King of Hades (阎罗王). 

When the main performance had ended, families of the dead took part in the redemption ritual (超度) via the marionette performance.   

Marionettes involved in the redemption ritual, including a monk (目连尊者) carrying a 4 or 5 coloured cloth, anyone knows what is the significance of this?


  1. Being curious about the redemption ritual and the involvement of marionettes, I have seek advice from Guan Thye who had been researching on Buddhism during his postgraduate days. This is his reply in Chinese (verbally):


    Translation of his reply:
    The marionette wearing a robe with the kasaya represents bodhisattva. Mulian is actually of the same rank as the arhat. However, many people have held Mulian in high regard. It is indeed true that Mulian has magical powers but people tend to mix him up with Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. In actual fact, Ksitigarbha has more power and the staff that he held in his hand allows him to access the gates of hell and the ability to conduct the redemption ritual. Mulian, however, does not possess such powers.

  2. 要补充的一点是,虽然目连并没有地藏王菩萨的法力,但他去地狱找母亲时,据说佛祖赐的锡仗让目连得以打开狱门。

    A point that I want to add is, although Mulian does not possess the powers of Ksitigarbha, it is believed that Buddha bestowed the staff to Mulian, hence allowing him to access the gates of hell.