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It was year 2017 when I first visited the TenThousand Buddhas Monastery in Hong Kong. But I have a friend who hasn't been there and so I decided to hop out from my cocoon and explore the monastery for the third time. Yes, it's my third time - the first time I was with my HK group of friends, the second time was with my employers, then this time, I was with my new friend. Our first plan was actually to visit Tai O village and hike on the mountain there to see the South China Sea. But we suddenly changed our plan and decided to visit the nearby tourist spot instead. She said the transportation fee is a bit expensive and the place is quite far. I actually want to hike there. If you remember my article about Trail and Trek, I have mentioned there about Tai O village and the mountain that I want to hike there. Maybe, I'll gonna visit that place next time with myself again.
Going back to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, it is located on a hillside of Pau Tau Village in Shatin, New Territories Hong Kong. It was founded in the 1950s under Yuet Kai and his followers. The construction lasted for six years. The name monastery is actually a misnomer since no monks are living at the complex and it is solely managed by laypersons. In total, there are about 13,000 buddha statues at the monastery despite its name "Ten Thousand Buddhas." Mostly were originated from the Tang Dynasty.
How to get there:
I took the MTR East rail line to Sha Tin station and met my friend at the intersection. It only took a few minutes to get there and the fare was only 9.50 HKD (1.23 USD). The MTR station was crowded as usual. Despite the pandemic, people always want to roam around every Sunday to relax from stressful work.
From the Sha Tin station, take Exit B leading to Grand Central Plaza.
As you pass through Exit B, turn left and walk down the slope. Just below the slope are old traditional houses, some small Chinese restaurants, and a small park.
We also saw this store selling Chinese traditional dried fruits. And since we don't have water, we bought water in this store and which costs 5 HKD (0.64 USD), way cheaper than the ones sold at 7/11 inside the MTR station.
Just continue to walk until you reach the pedestrian lane. From there, cross the street then you will see the Grand Central Plaza. The path to the monastery is just on the left side of the Grand Central Plaza. Few more steps and you will see the signboard leading to Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery.
At the end of this pathway are some bamboo grooves. From there you will see the entrance to the monastery.
The journey up to the monastery is an attraction itself. The path is lined on both sides with human-sized golden-painted buddhas.
The uphill takes about 20 minutes and the stairs are consists of 431 steps. For those who don't want to go to secluded mountains to hike, the way to Ten Thousand Buddhas is an alternative for hiking. I even told my friend, "it is as if we hike a real mountain." It was quite tiring but relaxing seeing the view of the city from above. I remember the first time we visited this place, me and my friends tried to count the number of buddhas if those are really ten thousand, but we give up in the middle of counting and just took photos instead.
Each buddha is unique and with a different pose. These were created by artists from Yunnan and Guangdong provinces and were molded at a temple in Kunming (the hometown of the founder of Yuet Kai).
This buddha looks like the most decent and powerful of them all.
The monastery covers 8 hectares and is divided into two floors. On the upper floor, you will see four halls, which are said to be dedicated to Kwun Yam and other Buddhist, and Taoist deities with various Buddha statues inside.
This is the main hall on the upper floor of the monastery.
Inside the main hall are huge buddhas. Photos were not actually allowed at the monastery, but all visitors were even taking photos, and so we did the same.
This one looks like a warrior buddha. There were four huge buddhas like this inside the hall. I was thinking, maybe they are Taoist deities.
In front of the main hall are the lady buddhas.
We visited the upper floor first before going to the lower floor as it serves as the main attraction of the monastery. Save the best for last indeed. The first floor consists of another hall, a nine-story pagoda, a tower, and three pavilions (before there were only two pavilions).
This is the view going to the lower floor of the monastery.
The Ten Thousand Pagoda is consists of nine stories with various buddhas on it. Before, visitors were allowed to climb up the pagoda and enjoy some view. But nowadays and for some reason, visitors are not allowed to climb up the pagoda.
This one is the main hall on the lower floor, it is also called Ten Thousand Buddha Hall. Inside the hall were ten thousand tiny buddhas. It is also the place where the Chinese people light incense, offer foods, and say their prayers to the deities. We didn't take photos inside the hall with respect to the Chinese people praying there.
The temple is free of charge. Everyone is allowed to visit the monastery from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Outside of the main hall is a small terrace with 18 life-sized figures (18 Louhan), which represents Buddha's most important students.
The Kwun Yam Pavilion of Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery.
The Skanda Pavilion of Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery.
The Manjusri Pavilion of Ten Thousand Buddha. A buddha on that blue animal which I don't know the name.
The Guan Yin statue of Ten Thousand Buddha.
Just near the entrance of the lower floor is a store selling souvenirs and bottled drinks. These pagoda and buddhas miniatures are really cute.
Some souvenirs like amulets, key chains, lucky bracelets, necklaces, and other figurines are also sold there.
I bought this small snake figurine which represents my birth year, the year of the snake as my souvenir. It costs 38 HKD (4.90 USD).
The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery's main temple and the pagoda are recorded as Grade III historic buildings, due to their historic implications. Thus, the Antiquities Advisory Board of Hong Kong considered them as having "some merit". Conserving the two buildings would be preferable in some way, however, if their preservation is not reasonable, different manners could be deemed.
Before going down, we went to the lavatory first to release the call of nature. 😅 Then we saw few monkeys in the trees behind the monastery, some were climbing on the handrails and some were on the roof of the monastery. They were quite scary but so far, they do not attack visitors. Just don't show foods to them, or else they will jump on you to snatch your foods. Although foods aren't allowed in the temple, we saw some visitors eating outside the hall.
It was indeed a long and tiring walk yet fun seeing those buddhas with different poses. Some were funny, some were scary, some were fearless, and some were cute - each implies an interesting story.
The walk going down from the monastery was quite easy. If going up takes 20 minutes, going down was only 10 minutes or less. From the monastery, we went to New Town Plaza to look for a place to stay. Since my friend felt hungry from our small hike, we ended up taking our snacks, or should I say our early dinner.
We also saw a Christmas display at the New Town Plaza. I am always excited about Christmas displays here in Hong Kong. As you walk inside, you can already feel the presence of Christmas with its played Christmas songs and some decorations.
I can't let this pass without taking some photos. I am like a kid every time I saw pretty Christmas displays. 😁
Behind this mall is actually the Snoopy World where Peanuts and his friends are displayed. But the queue was quite long and my friend insisted not to go there since it is for kids, and she was a bit tired already. I visited the place before and it's pretty inside too. I hope I can visit Snoopy World again to see Peanuts and Snoopy next time.