Penang II

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People pray to the Goddess of Mercy — a Buddhist deity.

Lao tsu, writer of the Tao te Ching — Taoist text, says:

“The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth.
The nameless is the mother of myriad things.”

We are in Penang, Malaysia — hiking in the Penang National Park each day. There are trails along the beach and also trails over the central island hills. Then we go to Georgetown (on Penang) and see the Goddess of Mercy Temple.

Let’s think about the Nameless — something that most Westerners would label as God, except that Lao tsu does not feel the need to personify the unknown.


River in Penang National Park — certainly there are laws governing nature — water flows downhill, for example.

Just as we are able to walk on this jungle path, it is possible through meditation to find an Inner Way, a path within.

Karen gives advice to travelers: “Stay home!” She is joking — or perhaps not!?

We hike in high heat and humidity. The path is not easy!

When monkeys attack!

Monitor lizard — we saw one or two each day in the canal close to our lodge. These lizards eat eggs, fish, and whatever is available.

The Goddess of Mercy Temple in Penang — the Goddess of Mercy is connected with Buddhism. She grants wishes to those who appeal to her. In Christanity, people ask favors from God, Jesus, Mother Mary, and saints. Praying and supplication are part of religious practice — even Lao tsu’s Taoism has the idea that there is something to be gained by living in harmony with the Tao.

Goddess of Mercy Temple – people light incense, bow, place the incense before altars.

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A supplicant

Goddess of Mercy Temple — people appeal before various altars.

We walk through Little India — in Penang, there are three main ethnicities: Malay, Chinese, and Indian. Each ethnic group manifests wide variations — some Indians are Muslim (followers of the Quran as dictated by Mohammad), some worship the Hindu gods Khrishna or Shiva, and some Indians in Malaysia follow the Guru Sai Baba or other gurus. Religion takes many forms.

Here is a saying: “All the names are one name.”

On the other hand, Lao tsu refers to the “nameless” and writes, “He who says does not know.”

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