The Po Lin Monastery
The Po Lin Monastery, A place which was once just a remote monastery unknown to the outside world secreted by verdant mountain scenery made it to the world map when the colossal Tian Tan Buddha statue also known as The Big Buddha was erected. This gigantic statue sitting 34 metres tall and facing over the Chinese draws pilgrims all over the world due to the majestic appeal it portrays.
The highlight of the statue is its posture which displays the character and dignity of the massive Buddha. The raised right hand offering blessing to all, dilated eyelids combine to bring a visual treat and a feeling of assurance to the spectators. Every single detail of the statue justifies the 12 years of workmanship it took to complete the statue. After climbing the 268 steps to the top of this remarkable statue what awaits us is a spectacular view of the sweeping mountain.
Home to many devout monks, The Po Lin monastery is one of Hong Kong’s most significant Buddhist sanctums and has been hailed as “The Buddhist World in the South”. The monastery is prosperous with vivid materializations of Buddhist iconography and its lovely garden. Visitors are also enlightened by the food at their popular vegetarian restaurant.
Tian Tan Buddha
The Tian Tan Buddha widely recogonised as the Big Buddha represents the tuneful relationship between mankind, Mother Nature and religion. This popular tourist attraction is located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, Hong Kong. The Big Buddha statue is referred as Tian Tan Buddha for the reason that its foundation is a mould of the Altar of paradise or Earthly Mount of Tian Tan, which is the The temple of heaven in Beijing, China.
The Buddha statue one of the five largest statues present in China sits on the top of a lotus throne and is enveloped by six other considerably smaller bronze statues acknowledged as “The offering of six Devas”. These statues offer incense, ointment, lamp, music, fruit and flowers to The Buddha. These offerings signifies the essential characters to penetrate into nirvana like wisdom, meditation, patience, passion, honesty, charity etc.
The statue is 112 ft tall, weighs 280 tons and was World’s largest outdoor bronze statue prior to 2000. Apparently The Giant Buddha can even be viewed from Macau on a clear day. The Tian Tan Buddha appears composed and venerable. The raised right hand symbolizes the removal of hardships and the left hand resting on the lap is a gesture of giving charity. This Buddha statue is unique from other statues of its kind as it faces North where as other statues faces south.
Adding to its beauty there are three floors underneath the Buddha statue: The Hall of Universe, The Hall of Benevolent Merit and The Hall of Remembrance. Another most prominent features inside this monument is the artefact of Gauthama Buddha, which consists of some of his supposed cremated remains. Only those visitors who are ready to procure an contribution for the Buddha are allowed to see the artefact, in order to leave the submission there. There is a massive carved bell designed to bell every seven minutes, 108 times per day representing the 108 different kinds of human aggravations. The engravements on the bell are with images of Buddha.
The construction of The Tian Tan Buddha began in 1990 and was completed on December 29, 1993, which is believed to be the day of the enlightenment of Gauthama Buddha who is theoriginator of Buddhism. The figure of The Buddha was made out of 202 different pieces of bronze and in addition to that there is a sturdy steel scaffold inside the statue to sustain the heavy load. Monks from all over the world were invited for the inauguration of the sculpture on its successful completion. Renowned visitors from The United States, Singapore, Sri Lanka, India, Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand and Malaysia took part in the procedures. The Hong Kong Post office on October 18,1999 to honor this great monument issued a stamp which depicts the Tian Tan Buddha.
Visiting and Access
The Po Lin monastery and The Big Buddha remains open to the public between 10:00 hrs to 17:45 hrs. There is an admission fee to get into the insides of The Big Buddha whereas access to the outside of The Big Buddha is completely free for the visitors. The Po Lin Monastery which is opposite to The Big Buddha serves as an global Buddhist monument is one of the most popular and largest monastery in Hong Kong. This Monastery also known as the Buddhist Kingdom in the South was constructed in 1920 by three Zen masters.
The main temple complexes are decorated with painted interiors which have dragons and other diverse Chinese mythological diagrams on the walls and ceilings. The lone tea garden in the province allows the visitors to spend some time and ease themselves from the commotions and other turmoils. A mere five minute stroll across the tea garden leads to “The Wisdom Path”, which comprises of 38 calligraphies by popular contemporary scholars. Another tourist attraction near the Big Buddha is the “Lantau Peak”, which is the second largest mountain in Hong Kong.
As a whole a visit of this divine place leaves behind traces of spirituality, endurance and fortitude in the minds of its visitors.