You’ll be amazed how easy it was to get to the Temple of the Ten Thousand Buddhas. +I had a lot of fun getting to the monastery without looking in undesirable places.
Today I want to tell you about one of the lesser-advertised, but worthy of attention, attractions in Hong Kong, the Monastery of 10000 Buddhas.
The Monastery of the 10,000 Buddhas is located in the New Territories, near the Sha Tin subway station.
Exit Exit B and walk down Pai Tau Street from the subway towards the hill.
As we approach the hill the first thing we will see will be a white gate and an escalator ride. Due to the lack of signage, we made the mistake of going up the escalators. There is no need to do that. There is a cemetery and crematorium.
We, unfortunately, like many, made the mistake of walking up the cemetery and even caught the cremation process on the way back. The situation is not pleasant and better not to repeat our mistakes. And the presence of navigation in English, which is not so difficult to do, would have solved this problem for tourists.
It must be said that most of the inhabitants of Hong Kong who meet on the street, absolutely do not understand or do not speak English. So it’s better to count only on yourself on the way.
If we meet any navigation on the way, it is exclusively in Chinese.
To get to the monastery, you have to walk past the white gate and escalators further and reach the path with steps going up. It is noteworthy that on the sides of the path there are many human-sized Buddha figures.
This is also where we meet the first signpost with the doublet in English.
On the way to the main area of the monastery, located at the top of the hill, you will have to overcome this path, and it is more than 400 steps. But the ascent will not stress you at all, as you will be engrossed in seeing the figures around you.
You can get to the monastery every day from 9:00 to 17:00.
ENTRANCE TO THE TERRITORY OF THE MONASTERY
Entrance to the monastery is absolutely free. This must be remembered, because periodically crooks dressed as monks appear there, and under the guise of locals try to swindle money from gullible tourists.
Now the monastery of 10000 Buddhas is already inactive and is a tourist attraction, although not particularly popular.
The monastery is relatively young. He was founded in 1949. It was founded by the monk Yuet Kai. The final construction of the monastery was completed in 1957. It took a long time to create the figures of Buddha.
Yuet Kai died at the age of 87, his body was embalmed and today he sits in the main temple of the monastery.
There are 5 temples, 2 pavilions and a pagoda on the monastery’s total area of 8 hectares.
In fact the Buddhas in the monastery are not 10000, but 12800. But the number 10000, is more significant in Chinese culture, that is why the monastery bears that name.
On the territory of the monastery you will not find the same sculptures. All of them are different and do not resemble each other. There are seated and standing Buddhas, thick and thin, old and young, solitary and surrounded by people and animals. Even the facial expressions are so varied and unique that it is simply impossible to put into words. One can also meet Buddhas in female form. This list I could go on and on.
The main area of the monastery is at the top of the hill and is a large area on which there is a temple and a pagoda, which are historic buildings.
Near the main temple are 18 sculptures of Buddha disciples. Filming inside is prohibited. But be sure to visit it. It is there and there are 12800 little figures of Buddha, which gave the name of the monastery. All the figures you have seen before do not count. The height of each figure in the temple is about 12 inches. All the walls from floor to ceiling are stacked with them. It is an incredibly beautiful and impressive place.
The pagoda is divided into nine tiers, which is no accident, because nine is a lucky number in Chinese culture. It means long life, eternity.
And this sculpture seemed to us to be one of the most unusual on the territory of the monastery.
By the way, almost every sculpture has a plaque with a caption or inscription on the base, but all again only in Chinese.
*** The Monastery of 10000 Buddhas is not the most popular place with tourists, apparently, so the navigation there is not at an adequate level.
However, if your time in Hong Kong allows you to visit this monastery, I recommend you don’t skip it in order to get a deeper insight into Chinese culture.
The Monastery of the 10,000 Buddhas
A Buddhist temple is not necessarily an old temple: the Monastery of 10000 Buddhas in Hong Kong, for instance, is less than a century old. Nonetheless, thousands of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world flock to the site. This religious shrine is worthy of attention as a striking and majestic structure on the hillside of Sha Tin Hill.
The Temple of the 10,000 Buddhas was founded in Hong Kong by the teacher Yuet Kai in 1951. The visionary preached Buddhism and dreamed of founding a Buddhist college to provide basic religious education to his followers. In 1949 the construction of the monastery began. Yuet Kai was not too young to carry the building materials from the foot of the mountain with his disciples. It took eight years to build the monastery and ten years to complete the 12800 Buddha statues. By 1957 the monastery was ready to receive pilgrims.
The monastery now houses a major relic, the mummy of the venerable teacher Yuet Kaya in a crystal gilded case. Today, the pagoda and temple of the monastery are of historical significance and are listed as Grade III historic buildings in Hong Kong.
What to see?
The ‘Temple of the 10,000 Buddhas’ in Hong Kong is a ‘must-see’. A path lined with seated Buddha statues leads to the monastery, and the monastery itself and its many grounds are filled with an astonishing sense of peace and serenity. Even those who are very distant from religion do not want to leave.
So, in Hong Kong, the Monastery of the 10,000 Buddhas can be found on the slopes of a rocky hill in the Shea Tin Valley. Today, the temple is dormant and run not by monks but by locals, which does nothing to reduce the flow of tourists or pilgrims. They do not even stop the staircase of 431 steps, which must be overcome when climbing up to the monastery. On both sides of the stairs are hundreds of gilded statues of Buddhas, “passing” tourists to the top of the hill. It is interesting that the statues are full-length and depict the Buddha in different variations: riding a turtle, leading a deer or next to a dragon.
As you walk up to the monastery, you are struck by the beauty and elegance of all the pavilions and the panorama that opens up. The most important temple is located on the lower terrace. It is here in the middle of the temple, surrounded by thousands of gilded statues of Buddhas rests embalmed with Chinese lacquer mummy of Yuet Kai himself, peacefully sitting in the lotus position. Then there are the lower-ranking pavilions of Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara, Samantabhadra, and the Quyam Yang Pagoda.
Ten Thousand Statues
In fact, there are far more than 10,000 statues of Buddhas in the temple. According to calculations of local lay observers, their number has long exceeded 13,000. Curiously enough, the Buddha statues, which are no taller than 30 cm, are covered with gilding. At first it’s hard to tell the difference between the statues, but after a closer look, you realize that they are all completely different.
Rather, Yuet Kai probably wished to show the multiplicity of Buddhism and its teachings, the closeness to each person and the universality of Buddha. He succeeded, because now every tourist can boast of seeing Buddha smiling, angry, laughing, grieving, shouting, whispering, thinking or playing with children. Unusual are the statues showing Buddha young and old, slender and full, scruffy and handsome, woman and man. Either way, at the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Hong Kong you’re transported to a world of beauty as well as peace, quiet and tranquillity.
How to get there?
The 10000 Buddha Temple in Hong Kong is free to visit (donations appreciated) from 09:00 to 17:30. You can take the MTR to Sha Tin Station. Then follow Pai Tau Street to the alley leading to the monastery.