Hong Kong’s cosmopolitan spirit and numerous tourist attractions make the city incredibly diverse. Not only when it comes to food or culture, but when it comes to different religions and philosophies as well. From Catholic Churches and Mosques to Buddhist and Taoist temples, places of worship can be found in many unexpected places.
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery or Man Fat Tsz in Cantonese is one of the many well-hidden places of worship. However, at the same time conveniently located in one of the busiest city districts of Sha Tin in New Territories. Only a short five minutes from the metro station and a New Town Plaza Shopping mall. Located at the hillside, the Monastery, including its five temples, four pavilions, and a pagoda. Furthermore, this is one of the historical buildings in Hong Kong, built in the 1950s.
The name, “Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery” is misleading. The Monks do not actually live there. Making it a complex for prayers and a great tourist spot rather than an actual Monastery. Its history leads back to a Buddhist practitioner from Kunming, China. This sect moved to Hong Kong in 1933 to preach Buddhism. His body and his statue can be found in Man Fat Tsz as well.
Located just behind the Government Buildings of Sha Tin, the road to the monastery starts in a forest. Accordingly, a muddy path will eventually lead to a steep staircase of over 431 steps. Both of its sides are filled with life-sized statues of Athens.
What is an A that?
Athens, known as the Buddhist spiritual leaders, are the ones who have reached Enlightenment. The highest form of self, and the ultimate truth about the universe. As a result, the gold-covered statues, all have different poses and facial expressions. Some of them are seen meditating with their eyes closed. Others ride mythological creatures or hold holy objects in their hands. They depict diverse walks of life and personalities. From the bottom of the hill, we are introduced to statues of various people. Subsequently, the higher a statue is placed the more important or influential the person was. All in all, there are over 13 thousand of these unique and beautiful statues to be seen.
The most visible part of the Monastery is the 9-story pagoda. It is beautifully decorated with little Buddha figures – one statue per floor. These red and gold statues represent both Chinese and Buddhist values, such as achievement, wisdom, and fortune. Around the pagoda, are even more figures of Buddhas, as well as other deities. These deities include Avalokiteśvara (or Guanyin in Chinese), an important Goddess in Tibetan Buddhism, who embodies the compassion of Buddhas. In addition, The Goddess of Mercy and the protector of seamen called Kuan Yin, surrounded by Shishi, the guardians of the temple. Mostly in the form of lions, which first appeared in Han China.
What is the meaning of Yin and Yang?
The main temple is red and decorated with golden dragons, a symbol of enlightenment. The walls are entirely covered in miniature Buddha statues, which aim is to amaze and encourage reflection and mindfulness. There are additional smaller temples and statues of Buddhist muses. These are interspersed with Taoism elements such as the well–known Yin and Yang. These signs remind us of the importance of unity and dualism of the world. From there, you can continue the climb to the upper levels to see even more pavilions and Buddha statues. Unfortunately, most of the upper part of the complex is currently closed due to reconstruction work.
Buddist Oasis in a Busy City Recap
In conclusion, Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is a great place for short excursions. Rest assured, there’s enough to see, do and try, to spend there a memorable day or two. Moreover, Hong Kong has so much more to offer per square foot of land. Perhaps, more than any other place on the face of the earth. If you are fortunate enough to discover “Asia’s World City” make sure you take the time to explore and discover your inner Zen. Don’t forget to check out Skycap News™ for more travel tips for your next holiday trip!