In this post, I am going to introduce to you a very special temple at the Shatin district of Hong Kong. It is not an ordinary temple in Hong Kong which you could reach there easily. This temple requires you to walk up the hill along a very special path. A path with golden statues of arhats. The temple is the “Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery”.
The temple is build at the top of the hill at shatin. There is no road for transportation to reach the temple, the only way to get there is to walk up the hill. The temple have a path for visitors to go up the hill and placed golden statues of arhats along the path. All of the arhats look differently, with different facial expression, hand sharp and sitting position. Some of them are holding a staff and some with long legs or arms. It is very interesting to walk up the path while browsing at the interesting statue. The entire path takes about twenty minutes for an average speed walker and some path of the hill is quite steep, I suggest to take a walking stick with you. Also prepare some water for the trip.
When you reach the temple, the first thing you will see is the Maitreya Buddha at the side wall of the Mahavira Hall. The Maitreya Buddha in Chinese traditional is the Buddha with big stomach (which is different from other cultural). Along his figure, there are 2 Chinese poems next to him saying “his big stomach can hold the thing of which the world cannot be tolerant, and his laugh is laughing at all the ignorance people in the world”. The meaning might be telling us to tolerant and not to be ignorance.
First things first, head into the Mahavira Hall to say hi to the 3 big Buddhas in the middle and thousand of small Buddha at the back by praying to them, you could also make a wish while you are praying. You could see a golden monk statue in front of the 3 big Buddha, it is actually the body of the founder of the temple being embalmed inside. Buy some incense sticks from the Mahavira Hall and burn them outside the hall at the burner to symbolizing good luck. At the temple area, you could find a lot of interesting Buddha figure such as Guan Yin (Avalokiteśvara bodhisattva) at the middle. There is a pagoda with 9 stories height you could climb up.
If you feel hungry at the temple, there is a small restaurant next to the Mahavira Hall which serve vegetarian food in it. They do not have meat in their menu because of the Buddhist traditional which not to kill any being. In the restaurant, you should try the bean curd which cook in different shape, taste and color. Some of them taste sweet, and some taste salty. Don’t forget to try out the white rice. To enjoy a vegetarian meal in a temple feels like a refresh in life.
After a meal and enjoying the view of the temple, you could walk up to another level of the temple complex to the direction of the entrance by the path on the left side. When you reach the top level of the temple complex, there are temple which dedicated to some Chinese god as well as Kshitigarbha Buddha, if you have incense sticks left, you could burn some at the burner at that level. Towards the end, you could see a pond which for people to release fish and turtles to symbolize a redemption of sin (like save a life by releasing an animal bought from the market where they suppose to be consumed).
After seeing all of the area, you could buy a souvenir from the Mahavira Hall such as bracelets on the way back. There is a shopping mall located at the bottom of the hill called “homesquare” and an ikea an the top floor which you could get refreshment after your trip to the temple.
For Location and transportation of Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery Hong Kong –
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